When Hurricane Frances hit Florida earlier this month, the Marlins’ weekend series against the Chicago Cubs was rained out.
Three weeks from the end of the regular season, Major League Baseball didn’t want the Marlins to face a similar fate with Hurricane Ivan approaching.
“Major League Baseball thought it was the right thing to do for the safety of the players and the quality of the game. I see nothing wrong with it,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. “This is probably the best scenario to get the games in rather than waiting and (delaying) the playoffs.”
Josh Beckett, starting to regain the form that earned him World Series MVP honors last season, will start of for the Marlins in the opener of the five-game series. The teams will also play in Chicago on Tuesday, and are scheduled to return to Miami for a doubleheader on Wednesday.
Beckett allowed just four hits in eight innings of a 3-0 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. The 24-year-old right-hander was coming off the first regular-season complete game of his career, a 5-0 win over the Mets on Aug. 31.
“If we get that kind of pitching from Josh and (A.J.) Burnett, we’re going to have some fun,” manager Jack McKeon said. “I said a couple of weeks ago that in order to stay in contention and win this thing, Beckett and Burnett had to step up. They’ve done it.”
Beckett has been on the disabled list three times this season with blister and lower back problems and has struggled to a 7-8 record. However, he is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his last four starts.
“It’s nice just to get out there and help the team win some ballgames,” said Beckett, who has not allowed a run in 18 1-3 innings. “We have bigger things to worry about, and I’m not worried about personal stats. We just have to go out and win games.”
The Marlins pounded the Cubs 11-1 on Sunday for their 11th win in 14 games. Juan Pierre had three of Florida’s 15 hits as the Marlins remained 2 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL wild-card race.
The Expos lost 9-8 in 12 innings to Atlanta on Sunday, as the Braves wrapped up a three-game sweep. Terrmel Sledge and Tony Batista each had a homer, three hits and three RBIs for Montreal, which has lost 10 of 14 overall.