Dontrelle Willis has not won a decision in more than two months - the longest drought of his career. To end it Tuesday, he will have to beat the NL’s best team.
The left-hander hopes to avoid tying the majors’ longest individual losing streak of the season when his Florida Marlins host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series at Dolphin Stadium.
Willis (7-12, 4.98 ERA) is 0-9 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 starts since his last win, May 29 on the road against the Chicago Cubs. St. Louis’ Anthony Reyes is the only major league pitcher to lose 10 straight decisions this season.
Willis is also 0-7 with a 5.02 ERA in his last 10 outings at home, where he has not won since April 23.
He has not beaten the Diamondbacks (67-52) since he first faced them on July 30, 2003. He is 1-4 with a 4.55 ERA in five career starts against Arizona, including a July 23 loss in which he surrendered four runs, nine hits and two walks in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 defeat at Chase Field.
Already the Marlins’ all-time leader in wins, Willis surpassed A.J. Burnett for the most losses in franchise history on Wednesday, when his career record reached 65-51 after a 6-4 loss at Philadelphia.
Willis allowed five runs - four earned - along with nine hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings.
“I’m battling,” Willis told the Marlins’ official web site. “This game is not made for the weak. For people on the outside, that’s hard to fathom. I don’t feel sorry. I don’t feel (down) at all.”
The Diamondbacks had a rare down game Sunday, when they suffered a collapse in a 7-6 home loss to the Washington Nationals, ending a four-game win streak and falling to 17-4 since July 21.
Arizona’s bullpen gave up six runs in 2 2-3 innings, including two in the ninth off closer Jose Valverde for his sixth blown save.
“We’ve seen this a little bit, where we’ve had a little bit of trouble holding leads, but we’ve always responded,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin, whose team has a three-game lead over the San Diego Padres in the NL West.
Less than two weeks after the Diamondbacks reacquired Byung-Hyun Kim off waivers from the Marlins (55-63), the right-hander is returning to South Florida. Kim (6-5, 4.93) was 5-3 with a 4.16 ERA in 14 appearances for Florida, which had acquired him in a May 14 trade with the Colorado Rockies.
Kim made the shortest of his 15 starts Wednesday in his Diamondbacks season debut. Kim allowed five runs - four earned - and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to Pittsburgh.
“Not my 100 percent stuff,” Kim told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “Next time, I’ll be better.”
Kim is 6-3 with a 5.09 ERA in 20 appearances, including five starts, against the Marlins.
Like the Diamondbacks, the Marlins saw a winning streak end Sunday after a bullpen meltdown. Florida failed to record a fourth straight victory as its relievers yielded six runs in three innings of a 10-4 loss at the New York Mets.
Florida first baseman Mike Jacobs is just 3-for-39 in 12 games since July 31, but may have a good chance to end his slump. He is 5-for-9 with a homer in his career against Kim.
Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson, meanwhile, is 4-for-7 with a homer lifetime versus Willis.