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

Marlins.

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.