The Florida Marlins need to make their move.
With their playoff window closing, the Marlins need to put some kind of run together. They’ll try to get something started when they play the opener of a weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers, a team they’ve dominated lately.
The Marlins went 42-25 in the second half last year on their way to their second World Series championship. Thus far, they have been unable to duplicate that kind of play. Florida is 8-11 since the All-Star break and was on the verge of coming apart after dropping two straight to Montreal and the first two of its series with Arizona, the two worst teams in the National League.
However, Carl Pavano pitched into the eighth inning on three days’ rest and Paul Lo Duca and Miguel Cabrera homered as the Marlins avoided an embarrassing sweep to the lowly Diamondbacks with a 10-5 win on Thursday. The victory also put an end to Florida’s five-game road losing streak.
Florida has some work to do if it plans on catching either Atlanta for the NL East title or the wild card-leading Chicago Cubs. The Marlins are seven games behind the Braves, and 6 1/2 back of the Cubs.
Enter the Brewers, a team the Marlins have dominated over the last three seasons. Florida is 15-6 against Milwaukee in that span, including a three-game sweep at Pro Player Stadium last season.
Lo Duca, acquired Saturday in a six-player trade with Los Angeles, is off to an excellent start with the Marlins, hitting .571 (8-for-14) with two home runs and four RBIs in four games.
“He’s into everything,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said of Lo Duca. “He’s in every rally we’ve got going. You’ve got to tip your hat to him in the ninth, when he bunted on his own. You talk about a team player, unselfish.
“He’s not thinking about, ‘See if I can hit another home run. I’m going to do something that’s going to contribute to winning.”’
The Brewers are coming off an 11-6 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday that completed a three-game sweep.
The Brewers finished 3-7 on their homestand and are a season-low five games below .500.
“It was ugly,” manager Ned Yost said. “There’s no getting around it. Today was definitely not one of our better days.”