Marlins-Padres Preview

The San Diego Padres are the latest team to take advantage of
the light-hitting Miami Marlins offense.

Jason Marquis takes the mound as San Diego seeks a fourth
straight victory and a three-game sweep of visiting Miami on
Wednesday afternoon.

The Padres (15-18) began the season 5-15 but have since won 10
of 13 since, outscoring the Marlins 10-1 in this series after
Tuesday night’s 5-1 win.

Will Venable homered, went 2 for 4 and drove in three runs after
going 2 for his last 21. Chase Headley also had two hits and is
batting .391 during a 12-game hitting streak for San Diego, which
has won eight of nine at home.

Miami, meanwhile, has reverted to its low-scoring ways after
hitting double digits for the only time this season in a 14-2 win
at Philadelphia on Sunday. The Marlins (10-24), owners of the
second-worst record in baseball and hitting an NL-worst .226, have
scored two or fewer runs 21 times, and their 99 runs are the fewest
in the majors.

No player who has appeared in more than nine games for Miami is
hitting better than Placido Polanco’s .256 average, which may bode
well for Marquis, who has been stingy at times this season.

Aside from allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to
Milwaukee on April 22, Marquis (3-2, 4.25 ERA) has been rather
solid. He’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in his other five
starts, including giving up three in six innings of a 7-6 win over
Arizona on Friday.

”Jason did his job,” manager Bud Black said. ”He hung in
there, battled and made some pitches. He’s a veteran pitcher with
moxie who knows how to work his way through a game.”

Marquis, however, may need to have better control moving
forward. He walked a season-worst five Friday and has issued at
least four free passes four times. He’s walked only two, though,
while going 1-1 with a 2.84 in his last three starts against the

Miami’s lack of offense has been especially difficult on its
pitching staff, though Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 4.14) didn’t have his
best stuff in his most recent outing.

Miami has lost five of Nolasco’s seven starts, including Friday
when he allowed four runs and a season-worst eight hits – including
three solo homers – in six innings of a 4-1 defeat at Philadelphia.
He’s received only 15 runs of support in 41 1-3 innings and two or
fewer in each of Miami’s losses when Nolasco starts.

”I thought Ricky did a nice job, kept us in the game,” manager
Mike Redmond said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting some
runs up. It’s tough for our pitching when we’re just scoring one
run a night. We’ve got to find a way to put some crooked numbers on
the scoreboard.”

The right-hander hasn’t needed much help in his last four starts
in San Diego, winning each of them while pitching at least into the
seventh inning and posting a 1.82 ERA.

Some of the Padres have had success against Nolasco, though.
Headley is 4 for 12 with a homer and Yonder Alonso is 3 for 5 with
a homer run off the Miami hurler.