Brewers-Marlins Preview

The Florida Marlins’ just-completed trip wasn’t overly successful, but the club still has the best road record in the major leagues. A matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers could help the Marlins improve their play at home.

Opening a season-high 11-game stretch in Miami, Florida looks to continue its home dominance in this series when the teams meet for the first time in 2011 on Friday night.

The Marlins (31-23) went 5-4 on a trip that ended with a 6-5 loss to Arizona on Wednesday, but they are 17-11 on the road. Florida hasn’t been nearly as good at home, losing eight of its last 12, but it has won 30 of 41 against Milwaukee in Miami.

Ricky Nolasco (4-1, 3.82 ERA), who earned his first victory over the Brewers in a 6-4 home win last June 1, will look to bounce back from one of the worst starts of his career.

The right-hander surrendered a season-high eight runs and a team-record 15 hits in an 8-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

“I had to soak one up and take one for the team, because the bullpen was depleted,” Nolasco told the Marlins’ official website. “But the 15 hits were my fault. Nobody to blame but me. No big deal. Just go get ’em next time.”

He will face a Milwaukee team that has won 17 of 24.

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez has batted .409 during a 17-game hitting streak versus the Brewers (30-26), and has gotten at least a hit in 25 of his 27 career games against them. Ramirez, though, has been out since Sunday with lower back stiffness and the club is contemplating whether to put him on the disabled list.

“We have to make a decision by Friday because we can’t keep going with only one shortstop (Emilio Bonifacio) out there,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke also faces a dilemma on the left side of the infield, with third baseman Casey McGehee in a 3-for-23 slump.

“I think (he’ll start Friday),” Roenicke told the Brewers’ official website. “… I may talk to him and ask him if we move him a little bit (from No. 5 in the lineup) will it relax him, ‘chill’ him a little.”

McGehee hit .367 against Florida last season.

The Brewers’ Nyjer Morgan has gone 7 for 18 since coming off the disabled list. The former Washington Nationals center fielder will be playing at Florida for the first time since Sept. 1, when he set off a bench-clearing brawl by charging right-hander Chris Volstad.

“The boo birds will definitely be out,” Morgan said.

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is hitless in his last nine at-bats, but he is batting .367 during a seven-game hitting streak at Miami.

Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison, 12 for 36 during an eight-game hit streak, had two hits in 17 at-bats against Milwaukee in 2010. Morrison has never faced Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.43), who has gone 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last two starts. The left-hander gave up one earned run over 7 1-3 innings of a 3-2 win over San Francisco on Saturday.

Wolf has gone 4-12 with a 5.93 ERA in 20 starts versus Florida. He last faced the Marlins on July 8, 2008, while with San Diego.