Struggling third baseman Fernando Tatis did not play in the series opener, and should be in the Expos lineup for this game as manager Frank Robinson says he’s committed to the enigmatic slugger “no matter how much he struggles”.
Tatis is 6-for-53 in his last 15 games.
Conversely, Montreal second baseman Jose Vidro has been productive—he went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Tuesday’s win, and is now hitting .331 with four home runs and 22 RBIs.
“Vidro is hitting the ball, but you still haven’t seen the real Jose Vidro yet,” Robinson said. “He’s going to get hot to where he is consistently out there on base and driving in runs.”
Florida, playing without catcher Ivan Rodriguez for the second straight game, dropped to 3-5 under new manager Jack McKeon. Rodriguez went to Puerto Rico to be with his mother-in-law, who is ill.
McKeon doesn’t expect Rodriguez to rejoin the team before a three-game series at Cincinnati beginning Friday. “He said he’d get back as soon as he could but he just got there,” McKeon said.
Mike Lowell hit his 14th homer for Florida, which has lost four straight.
STANDINGS: Marlins - 5th place, 12 1/2 GB, NL East. Expos - 2nd place, 3 GB, NL East.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Carl Pavano (3-4, 3.63 ERA). The right-hander has pitched well in his last three starts, but has just one win to show for it. In his last outing, Pavano scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings, but didn’t figure in the decision, as the Expos fell 2-1 at Los Angeles on May 16. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last 20 1-3 innings. Pavano, who pitched for the Expos from 1998-2002, has two career starts against Montreal, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Claudio Vargas (1-1, 3.29 ERA). After earning his first major league win at San Francisco, Vargas was forced to enter the Expos’ 6-4 win at Colorado, after starter Zach Day was ejected for putting glue on a blister on his pitching hand. He allowed one run and two hits in 1 2-3 innings. Vargas has never faced the Marlins.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .327 avg.; Lowell, 14 HRs, 36 RBIs and 28 runs; Juan Pierre, 18 SBs. Expos - Vidro, .331 avg.; Vladimir Guerrero, 8 HRs, 30 RBIs and 29 runs; Endy Chavez, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Expos, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - After going 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA in six April starts, RHP Pavano is 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three May starts. … C Mike Redmond made his second straight start on Tuesday night in place of C Rodriguez, who was rested for Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Los Angeles. McKeon said he planned to give C Ramon Castro—Florida’s third catcher—his first start of the season Wednesday. … 2B Luis Castillo is hitting .452 (14-for-31) during an eight-game hitting streak. … Expos - 2B Vidro is 1-for-7 in his career against RHP Pavano. … RF Guerrero’s 217 career homers are eight behind Andre Dawson’s team record 225 homers set from 1976-86. Guerrero, who has a team-high eight homers this season, is three short of tying Gary Carter, who hit 220 homers with Montreal from 1974-84 and 1992, for second in team history. … SS Cabrera is 5-for-8 in his career against RHP Pavano.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 8-17 on the road; Expos - 15-8 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Josh Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Redman (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 60-day DL. Expos - RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL.