A visit to Cincinnati doesn’t usually instill fear in opponents, but for a Florida Marlins club trying to stay in the playoff race it may be coming at an inopportune time.
The Marlins look to end an eight-game losing streak at Great American Ball Park and record their first win there in more than three years when they open a four-game series with the Reds on Thursday.
Florida (78-68) is seeking its 11th win in 15 games overall. It won its third straight road series this week, taking two of three at St. Louis. The Marlins allowed 11 runs in the opener, but bounced back to win the next two games including in a 5-2 victory Wednesday.
“This is a resilient team,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team is chasing Colorado for the NL wild card. “They forget bad losses quickly and go on to the next game.”
Ricky Nolasco(notes) gave up seven runs in five innings in the series opener, but Florida starters settled in over the next two games. Sean West(notes) allowed one run in six innings of Tuesday’s victory and Josh Johnson(notes) pitched six effective innings Wednesday, helped by the fact the Marlins scored three runs before he even took the mound.
Anibal Sanchez(notes) (2-6, 4.43 ERA) looks to give the Marlins a third straight strong outing from the rotation, but it could be a tall order. Florida has lost eight in a row at Cincinnati since an April 18, 2006 win, with its starters posting a 7.51 ERA in that stretch.
Sanchez won his only start against the Reds in 2006 at home, allowing two runs in five innings of a 7-2 victory.
The right-hander, who has made two trips to the disabled list this season due to shoulder trouble, is winless in his last four outings. He gave up two runs, six hits and walked four in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-3 victory over Washington on Saturday.
The right-hander lasted 5 1-3 innings against the Cubs on Saturday, giving up three runs in a 7-5 victory, but did not get the decision.
Cueto won his only prior start against the Marlins, giving up three runs over six innings of an 11-3 victory on June 6, 2008.
Cincinnati is seeking its fourth straight win after a sweep of Houston, culminating in a 6-5 victory Wednesday. Joey Votto(notes) scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the seventh while rookie Drew Stubbs(notes) homered for a second straight game.
The Reds had dropped six of seven before sweeping the Astros.
“It doesn’t matter how you get it as long as you get it,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It feels good to win again and get back on a winning streak.”
The Reds and Marlins split two games at Miami in May.