Miami (40-36) at Atlanta (36-39)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Tue Jun 29, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Dontrelle Willis’ problem isn’t quite a sophomore jinx, but there is definitely something wrong.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year will try to rebound from two awful starts when he takes the mound for the Florida Marlins in the middle game of their series with the Atlanta Braves.

Willis went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA last year, and has resembled that pitcher at certain times this season, but is currently going through a particularly rough stretch. Willis lost his last two starts in ugly fashion, allowing 13 runs and 16 hits over just 8 2-3 innings.

The Braves beat him up pretty good on Thursday, knocking the 22-year-old left-hander around for six runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings in an eventual 9-4 win.

“I was erratic in key situations,” said Willis, who has allowed the opposition to hit .281 this season. “I wasn’t able to execute pitches, and it cost us. … I’ll go back to the drawing board and make an adjustment.”

Marlins manager Jack McKeon said what Willis is going through now is no different than what countless others have experienced.

“Young guys, they’ve got to learn,” McKeon said. “They’ve got to take a shellacking once in a while, and go through a little adversity. It’s how you handle it.”

Florida fell back into a first-place tie in the NL East with Philadelphia following its 6-1 loss Monday in the opener of this series. The game was delayed 3 1/2 hours due to heavy rain and was played in front of roughly 5,000.

The Braves have won three straight and four of five.

Andruw Jones went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Nick Green added three hits for Atlanta.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Willis Mil vs. M. Hampton Ari
10-11 Record 13-9
4.02 ERA 4.28
139 K 87
61 BB 65
1.38 WHIP 1.53