Tampa Bay (38-38) at Miami (41-38)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Jul 2, 2004
  • TV: FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It appears the Florida Marlins will never go on an extended losing streak as long as Carl Pavano takes his usual turn in the rotation.

Pavano will try to help end the Marlins’ two-game losing streak and beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays again when the teams open a three-game series at Pro Player Stadium.

The Marlins, who are 13-2 when the Pavano starts this season, are coming off Thursday’s 9-1 defeat at Atlanta. The defending World Series champions have dropped six of eight overall.

Pavano, who has won a career-high six straight decisions, has ended three of Florida’s three-game losing streak this season. He halted one on Sunday, when he got the win in an 11-4 victory over the Devil Rays.

Pavano allowed one run and five hits over seven innings and matched a season high with eight strikeouts as the Marlins snapped the Rays’ 13-game interleague win streak. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA in three career starts against Tampa Bay.

“He’s our MVP right now,” Marlins left fielder Jeff Conine said of Pavano. “Any time you have a couple of losses in a row and you need somebody to go out there and stop the bleeding, so to speak, he’s our man. He’s our tourniquet.”

Pavano hasn’t lost since May 19 at Houston, and boasts a 1.86 ERA over his last seven starts. He has pitched at least seven innings in 12 consecutive starts.

“He’s a big-time pitcher now. Every time he goes out there, you kind of feel that he’s going to be in command,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.

The Devil Rays lost 14-0 to Toronto on Thursday, and left town with a four-game split.

Tampa Bay was a major league-best 20-5 in June, and has lost just one of its last 12 series (9-1-2).

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Starting Pitchers

R. Bell CWS vs. C. Pavano Min
8-8 Record 18-8
4.46 ERA 3.00
57 K 139
41 BB 49
1.32 WHIP 1.17