Miami (32-37) at Tampa Bay (36-33)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Jun 17, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Florida Marlins hope their strong interleague track record, including some recent success against in-state rival Tampa Bay, will continue as they try to end their current free fall.

Looking to avoid their second eight-game skid this month, the Marlins face the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

Florida’s 129 interleague victories are by far the most of any NL team. Six of those victories have come in its last nine games versus Tampa Bay, including two at home last month. The Marlins (32-37) can use some of that past success as they try to avoid losing for the 16th time in 17 games.

Florida was 29-19 and one game behind Philadelphia in the NL East on May 26 but is 3-18 since and has fallen into last place, 11 1/2 back of the Phillies. The Marlins have not endured such a stretch since they dropped 19 of 22 in 1998.

“It’s mind-boggling,” said Logan Morrison(notes), who had one of two hits off Cliff Lee(notes) in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Phillies. “You can’t do anything about it now. Just have to keep battling.”

The Marlins, outscored 25-6 during the four-game sweep at Philadelphia, have averaged 3.0 runs during their seven-game skid.

“We have to put it together, and once we win that game, we’re going to come back,” Thursday’s losing pitcher Javier Vazquez(notes) told the Marlins’ official website. “We are trying our best, and we’ll get through this.”

Mike Stanton(notes) had the Marlins’ other hit Thursday, his first in 11 at-bats. He’s 4 for 10 with four RBIs at Tropicana Field, where Florida took two of three last June.

The Marlins hope to finally break out when they face scheduled Rays’ starter Wade Davis(notes) (5-5, 4.81 ERA) for the first time in the opener. He is 0-3 with a 3.78 ERA during interleague play.

Davis won for the first time since May 8 despite allowing five runs in six innings of a 9-6 victory at Baltimore on Sunday. The right-hander is 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in his last four outings.

He will try to help the Rays (36-33) avoid a third consecutive loss after they dropped the final two of a three-game set with AL East leader Boston. Tampa Bay has scored seven runs while losing three of four.

“We’re capable of more offense,” manager Joe Maddon said after Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox. “We’ve got to draw it out of us.”

Slugger Evan Longoria(notes) is 0 for 12 his last four games after going hitless in four at-bats Thursday. He’s hit just .143 with three RBIs in nine career home games versus Florida.

Teammate B.J. Upton(notes) had two hits Thursday but is 0 for 9 with four strikeouts his last four games against the Marlins.

Tampa Bay will get its first look at Florida’s Brad Hand(notes) (0-2, 3.27), who makes his third career start since being called up from the minors June 6.

The 21-year-old right-hander allowed a home run in six innings of a 1-0 loss to Atlanta in his debut June 7, but gave up four runs and walked five in five innings of a 5-1 defeat to Arizona on Sunday.

The Rays are 6-12 against NL opponents since winning their last interleague series at Houston May 21-23, 2010.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Hand Mia vs. W. Davis KC
1-8 Record 11-10
4.20 ERA 4.45
38 K 105
35 BB 63
1.47 WHIP 1.38


Friday, Jun 17