Miami (52-60) at Washington (49-63)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 93° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 9, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

No matter how he’s been pitching, Florida Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis always looks forward to facing the Washington Nationals.

He’ll try to help the Marlins win consecutive contests when they continue their three-game series with the Nationals at RFK Stadium on Wednesday.

Willis (7-8, 4.05 ERA) is 9-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 13 career starts against the Nationals, including a victory in two starts this season. The nine wins are his second-most against any team, trailing only the 10 he has against the New York Mets.

Willis beat the Nationals (49-63) for his first victory this season, and is 5-1 in his last seven starts against them. He’s also unbeaten in two starts at RFK Stadium.

Willis would like a strong outing as he continues to turn his season around after a 1-6 start. He’s gone 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA since May 27, and allowed seven hits and one run in eight innings to beat the Mets 4-1 on Thursday.

“It’s big,” said Willis, who induced four inning-ending double plays. “We’ve had a lot of tough breaks this season. When the ball bounces our way out there, I’m excited.”

Florida (52-60) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory in Tuesday’s series opener. The win came two days after a lengthy team meeting that followed a weekend sweep by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Dan Uggla hit his 17th homer to lead the Marlins Tuesday.

“We have played bad before, and we have always bounced back, and I believe we’ll bounce back,” Florida manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “Sometimes a manager has to get some things off his chest.”

The win allowed the Marlins to remain 5 1/2 games behind in the NL wild-card standings.

“A day off probably helped all of us, and I think it probably gave us a chance to refresh a little bit, charge our batteries a little bit,” Girardi said.

The victory also came after Girardi denied reports of a rift between him and owner Jeffrey Loria after there was speculation the two had argued.

“There is no rift. There never was a rift,” Girardi said.

Washington has lost three straight and seven of its last 10. Ramon Ortiz (8-9, 4.76) will try to stop that slide and win his third consecutive decision when he starts for the Nationals on Wednesday. He allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings to beat San Diego 6-2 on Friday.

“I walked five guys today. I don’t like that because I like to throw strikes,” Ortiz said. “We won the game. This team scored a lot of runs.”

Ortiz is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two outings against the Marlins this season. He’s 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in four career starts against Florida.

Chris Schroder made his debut for Washington on Tuesday, throwing one scoreless inning. Schroder was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans earlier in the day to take the roster spot of Livan Hernandez, who was traded to Arizona on Monday.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Willis Mil vs. R. Ortiz Tor
12-12 Record 11-16
3.87 ERA 5.57
160 K 104
83 BB 64
1.42 WHIP 1.54


Wednesday, Aug 9