Willis looks to snap a career-high four-game skid when the Marlins continue their four-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday.
Willis (1-4, 6.22 ERA) led the majors with 22 wins last season and was runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award, but has been dreadful in his last four starts. The left-hander has allowed 24 earned runs and 35 hits in 21 2-3 innings for a 9.97 ERA in that span.
“It all (stinks) having your butt handed to you,” Willis said. “I want to go out there and be in the game until the end. I haven’t been able to do that of late.”
Willis didn’t make it out of the third inning in his last start, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in just 2 2-3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Braves (18-20) on Thursday. He threw 45 of his 72 pitches in the third inning, as Atlanta scored six runs.
The Marlins (11-25) are 1-7 in games when Willis takes the mound, after going 23-11 in his starts last season.
“I feel I’m responsible for a lot of things,” Willis said. “I just have to do a better job of getting it done or don’t put me out there. Then find somebody else. That’s the way the game is. I better start going out there and getting things done or I might not have a job. That’s how I feel.”
Willis’ longest losing streak prior to this season came his rookie year when he lost three straight from Aug. 22-Sept. 2, 2003. He has 47 career wins, one behind Brad Penny and two in back of A.J. Burnett.
He is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves, and is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in three starts at Turner Field.
Tim Hudson (3-3, 4.67) got the win against Willis on Thursday, and will oppose him again in this contest. Hudson gave up one run and five hits in six innings with a season-high seven strikeouts Thursday
“That’s as good as I’ve felt all year,” said Hudson, who has alternated wins and losses in his last five starts. “I felt like I could put lots of zeroes up on the scoreboard.”
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts against the Marlins, allowing one earned run in each of his last three games against them.
Florida lost two of three in last week’s series against Atlanta, and 16 of 19 at Turner Field since the start of the 2004 season, including Monday’s 11-5 defeat. The Braves tied their season high with 18 hits, and scored all their runs with two-out hits.
Atlanta rallied from a 5-0 deficit Monday, as catcher Brian McCann went 3-for-5 with a homer and had a career-high five RBIs. McCann leads the NL in batting with a .352 average, and is 14-for-32 with 12 RBIs in his last nine games.
“Nobody expects to be hitting .350,” McCann said. “I’m just trying to put some consistent at-bats together.”
Atlanta has won six of its last seven home games, and six of its last eight games overall.
Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera is 11-for-27 (.407) with two homers and eight RBIs in his last six games.