The Miami Marlins are feeling confident following an impressive
road trip, but that may be short-lived if they can’t find a way to
solve Johan Santana and the New York Mets.
Miami looks to snap a five-game losing streak to the surging
Mets on Friday night when it faces Santana, who has dominated the
Marlins throughout his career.
Miami (16-15) went 8-1 on a trip that ended a 5-3, 12-inning
victory over Houston on Wednesday. Omar Infante drove in two runs
on a bases-loaded single in the 12th after Steve Cishek blew the
save in the ninth.
“We got the win, that’s all that matters,” starter Josh Johnson
told the Marlins’ official website after going seven innings. “It
was an unbelievable road trip. … Maybe we can go back home and
start something there and keep winning ball games.”
Despite the outstanding road swing, the closer problem follows
the Marlins home, though Heath Bell pitched a scoreless 10th inning
Wednesday. Bell was demoted from the spot after blowing four saves
in seven chances.
“I want to see him throw the ball the way he did today with
confidence,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I believe we’re a better
ball club with him as a closer.”
Miami, 6-5 at home, could see its momentum come to a quick halt
if it can’t change its fortunes against Santana and the Mets
Santana (1-2, 2.61 ERA) has posted a 1.83 ERA in his last three
starts – all Mets wins – and is coming off his first victory since
Sept. 2, 2010, before shoulder surgery kept him out last season.
He’s been even more effective against the Marlins in his career,
going 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA in 10 starts, including an 0.84 ERA in
the last six.
The left-hander faced the Marlins for the first time in nearly
two years April 24, giving up one run and striking out 11 in 6 2-3
innings of a 2-1 home victory.
Santana finally got his long-awaited win Saturday, allowing
three runs in seven innings to beat Arizona 4-3.
”He’s been throwing the ball really well – probably should have
had a couple of wins already by now,” catcher Mike Nickeas
Santana will be opposed by fellow left-hander Mark Buehrle (2-4,
2.83), who’s coming off a superb outing that followed his shortest
start of the season.
Buehrle threw a five-hitter to defeat San Diego 4-1 on Saturday,
bouncing back from a five-inning stint in which he gave up seven
runs – four earned – in a 9-5 loss to the Diamondbacks on April
He pitched well in his first career start against the Mets,
giving up two runs on a David Wright homer in seven innings April
25, but suffered a 5-1 loss.
“It starts with starting pitching,” Buehrle told the Marlins’
official website. “We’ve got to come out and throw zeros to give
the offense a chance to get going. When we were playing them (in
April), we weren’t playing well. Hopefully things will turn.”
The Mets swept that three-game series to extend their run in the
series to five, and surprising New York brings an overall five-game
winning streak into Friday after beating Philadelphia 10-6 on
The Mets overcame a 4-2 deficit, scoring three times in the
seventh before Ike Davis hit a three-run homer in the eighth. New
York is five games above .500 for the first time since July 19,
The Mets rallied in the seventh inning or later in all three
contests against the Phillies.
“We’re playing pretty good baseball right now and getting good
results,” shortstop Justin Turner said.
The Mets’ last six-game winning streak was April 21-27,