Red Sox-Marlins Preview

Perhaps the open roof gave the Miami Marlins the edge they

needed to end their worst home losing streak of the year.

There’s plenty of evidence showing that giving the ball to Mark

Buehrle in interleague play is a good way to win a game.

Buehrle looks to match a major league record by winning an 11th

straight interleague decision Tuesday night when Miami tries to

hand the Boston Red Sox a season high-tying fifth consecutive

defeat.

With the Marlins (32-29) starting their homestand 0-6 before

this series, team management decided to take advantage of favorable

weather conditions Monday night and open the retractable roof at

new Marlins Park for the first time since April 18. Miami responded

with a 4-1 victory to improve to 3-2 when the roof is open.

“It helped a little, because there was a little different feel

in the ballpark,” said closer Heath Bell, who converted his 10th

straight save opportunity. “You could feel it a little more

electric. I think the fans really liked it.”

With Buehrle (5-6, 3.49 ERA) taking the ball, the Marlins may

not need to turn to a gimmick or a “slump buster,” as team

president David Samson called Monday’s open-roof experiment.

The veteran left-hander is the all-time leader with 24

interleague wins and is 10-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last 15 starts

against the opposite league. If Buehrle wins Tuesday, he’ll tie

Kenny Rogers’ record of 11 consecutive interleague victories.

Of course, he’ll be facing the AL after all of the previous wins

came with the Chicago White Sox against NL foes.

Buehrle is 6-6 with a 4.46 ERA in 16 starts versus Boston, but

the Marlins southpaw will face a Red Sox team that has struck out

41 times and is batting .198 with 10 total runs during its

skid.

“I don’t think they’re pressing,” said manager Bobby Valentine,

whose team has dropped seven of eight and is last in the AL East.

“They’re trying very hard against real good pitchers.”

Boston (29-32) is hoping for another good start from Clay

Buchholz (6-2, 5.77) after he pitched a four-hitter in Thursday’s

7-0 victory over Baltimore. The right-hander has allowed two runs

or fewer in each of his last three starts after recording a 7.84

ERA in his first nine outings of 2012.

“The only adjustment was the grip (on the changeup). I think my

grip was a little off,” Buchholz told the Red Sox’s official

website after his third career shutout. “I’ve been able to free

that up a little bit.”

Buchholz, who is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in three career interleague

starts, will face the Marlins for the first time.

Miami is batting .199 with 14 runs in the first seven games of

its homestand, but the club went 2 for 3 with runners in scoring

position Monday after going 5 for 50 in those situations in the

previous six contests.

“Lately we weren’t able to get the big hit, but today we were

able to do that early in the game,” shortstop Jose Reyes said.

It’s uncertain if second baseman Omar Infante will return to

Miami’s lineup Tuesday after rookie Donovan Solano went 1 for 3

with two RBIs in the series opener. Solano is batting .455 (10 for

22) since being called up May 20.

Red Sox rookie Will Middlebrooks could start at third base

Tuesday after Kevin Youkilis got the nod Monday.

There’s a good chance David Ortiz will make a second straight

start at first base for Boston. The usual DH is a .345 hitter (20

for 58) against Buehrle with two homers and eight doubles.