Without Joe Girardi at the helm, the Florida Marlins likely wouldn’t be in position to challenge for the NL wild card.
A day after Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria failed to endorse Girardi’s work, Florida will go for its seventh straight victory when it continues a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
The Marlins (62-66) scored all their runs in the first four innings of a 7-2 victory on Saturday. It was Florida’s sixth consecutive win and pulled the team to within four games of .500 for the first time since April 15.
Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run double to tie the team record for RBIs in a month with 30 for the Marlins, who trail Cincinnati by four games for the wild card lead. The Brewers are 4 1/2 games back.
Earlier in the day, though, Loria addressed a public rift with Girardi for the first time since it was made public three weeks ago, but continually tried to shift focus to the team’s recent success.
“I don’t want to talk about ancient history,” Loria said. “We have a magnificent young club here. They’ve gone way beyond expectations because the talent is so good.”
Dontrelle Willis, who struck out seven over seven innings Saturday, expressed support for Girardi.
“Skip is doing a great job of keeping us humble and poised,” Willis said. “I love the job he is doing.”
Anibal Sanchez (5-2, 3.44 ERA) looks to follow up Willis’ strong performance and win back-to-back starts for Florida. The right-hander limited Washington to one run and four hits over seven innings in a 3-1 victory on Monday for his first win since July 25.
“He threw a great game, and I thought (a 17-minute) rain delay affected him a little bit because he was so sharp the first five innings,” said Girardi, who has declined comment on the situation with Loria. “He bounced back.”
Sanchez is 3-1 with a 1.00 ERA in four home starts this season, allowing only three earned runs through 27 innings and limiting opponents to a .146 batting average.
He will try to help the Marlins win their fifth straight meeting with the Brewers at Dolphin Stadium and 12th in the last 15 games between the clubs there. Milwaukee dropped to 23-41 on the road this season, but hopes Chris Capuano (11-8, 3.55) can end that slide.
The left-hander has won all three career starts against the Marlins, posting a 2.57 ERA and allowing only six runs over 21 innings. He has issued just three walks in that span while striking out 16.
Capuano is trying to build on his first win since making the NL All-Star team, which was also one of his best of the season. The 28-year-old southpaw pitched six shutout innings and scattered just three hits in a 4-1 victory over Colorado on Tuesday.
“Wins are like gravy for me,” said Capuano, who snapped a seven-start winless streak during which he went 0-4 with a 5.10 ERA. “If I’m throwing the ball well and keeping the team in games, that gives me satisfaction. The wins are bonuses, gravy on top of that.