Coleman will try to end his three-game losing streak Thursday night by leading the Cubs to their sixth consecutive win over the Marlins.
Chicago (18-23) avoided a season high-tying fourth consecutive defeat Wednesday as Reed Johnson(notes) and Marlon Byrd(notes) each hit key home runs in a 7-5 victory. Johnson provided the tying runs in the sixth inning with his third career pinch-hit homer, and Byrd’s solo shot to lead off the eighth put the Cubs ahead for good.
“There have been tons of games throughout the whole year we felt like we’ve just given away,” said Johnson, a career .425 hitter against the Marlins. “If we can clean things up, we could go on a pretty good run.”
Chicago will try for its first five-game win streak in Florida since April 28-May 19, 1999, but Coleman (1-3, 7.22 ERA) would seem unlikely to help his team accomplish that feat. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in his last four starts but had better luck against the Marlins (24-17) near the end of last season.
The Fort Myers, Fla., native earned his second major league win by yielding three runs and five hits over six innings on Sept. 18 at Sun Life Stadium. That 5-3 victory led the Cubs to an eventual sweep a three-game set.
Coleman, though, heads into this start after giving up six runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings during a 9-1 loss to St. Louis last Thursday. In his previous outing May 7 against Cincinnati, he gave up two runs and four hits over a season-high six innings.
“I feel like I’m not throwing as many strikes this year. When I need that big pitch, I haven’t been able to make it,” Coleman said. “It’s tough when you tease them with one good outing and go out there and don’t do as well.”
Volstad is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in his three starts this month but will try to end that drought by collecting his first win over the Cubs. The right-hander has a 3.41 ERA in his five career matchups with Chicago but has received a combined nine runs of support.
He gave up four runs over six innings May 12, 2010, while suffering his only loss to the Cubs, 4-3 at Wrigley Field.
If he’s in the lineup, Hanley Ramirez(notes) will try to help Volstad by continuing to emerge from his season-long slump. The All-Star shortstop, batting .211 this season, went 2 for 5 with a solo homer after going 0 for 13 in his three previous games.
“He showed something today,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He’s getting there. It was very encouraging to see him swing the bat better.”
The Cubs and Marlins enter this game tied 74-all in their all-time series.