The Montreal Expos won’t call anyone up from the minors to bolster their slim postseason hopes, but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying to win games.
The Expos look to keep pace in the NL wild-card race as they host the Florida Marlins in the middle game of their series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Montreal remained in seventh place in the wild-card race—5 1/2 games behind Philadelphia—after beating Florida 6-2 Friday night.
The Expos have been told by Major League Baseball, which owns the Expos along with the league’s clubs, that they cannot add any players for the final month.
“We’re not going to be allowed to get any callups because we’re substantially over budget,” Montreal president Tony Tavares said.
Gene Orza, the No. 2 official of the players’ association, said the Expos players are angry the team has not made any September callups from the minors, moves routinely made by other teams.
“The have traveled more than any other team in the major leagues,” referring to the 22 “home games” the team is playing in San Juan to generate revenue for the moribund franchise. “They are uniquely situated to be the beneficiary of September callups.”
Montreal improved to 11-6 in Puerto Rico with Friday’s win, which drew 11,509 fans, and was delayed for 1 hour, 12 minutes in the bottom of the fourth because of a power outage.
Not only did Florida see its seven-game winning streak over Montreal end, the team also is fell one game behind the Phillies, who beat the Mets 1-0 on Friday, for the wild card.
Rookie Miguel Cabrera appears to be regaining his stroke, however, as he had an RBI single in the loss. Cabrera had struggled of late, going 2-for-24 in the Marlins’ recent seven-game homestand. However, the 20-year-old Venezuelan has had run-scoring hits in two straight games.
STANDINGS: Marlins - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL East. Expos - 4th place, 16 1/2 GB, NL East.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Brad Penny (12-10, 4.12 ERA). Penny beat the Expos on Monday, allowing two runs and three hits over seven innings of a 5-2 win, striking out eight and walking two. It marked the fifth straight start that the right-hander has walked two or less. That win improved his record to 9-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 13 career starts against Montreal.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Tomo Ohka (8-11, 4.55 ERA). Ohka took the loss in Monday’s 4-2 defeat, allowing three runs and 11 hits over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out a season-high nine, and did not walk a batter for the second straight start. He is 1-4 with a 4.41 ERA in seven career starts against Florida.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .322 avg. and 88 runs; Mike Lowell, 32 HRs and 105 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 58 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .318 avg.; Vladimir Guerrero, 23 HRs; Orlando Cabrera, 71 RBIs, 87 runs and 22 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 11-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - 2B Castillo is hitting .500 (7-for-14) against RHP Ohka. … RHP Penny is 7-7 with a 4.96 ERA in 16 road starts this season. … OF Pierre is hitting .462 (6-for-13) against RHP Ohka. Expos - OF Guererro is hitting .400 (12-for-30) in his career against RHP Penny. … Left-handed batters are hitting .333 against RHP Ohka this season. … C Michael Barrett is just 1-for-16 in his career against RHP Penny.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 30-39 on the road; Expos - 47-23 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - 3B Lowell (thumb), 15-day DL; LHP Armando Almanza (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendix), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 60-day DL. Expos - OF Guerrero (knee), day-to-day; C Michael Barrett (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Claudio Vargas (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 60-day DL; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 60-day DL.