The Florida Marlins are trying to avoid setting a team record for futility.
Newly hired manager Jack McKeon would like to see them have fun, but it might be the Los Angeles Angels doing that at their expense.
Florida will try to snap a franchise record-tying 11-game slide in the middle game of this series with the Angels on Tuesday night.
The Marlins (32-41) entered this month nine games above .500, but have dropped 19 of 20 to plummet to the bottom of the NL East. That stretch includes this current skid, during which manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned.
Replacing him with McKeon on Monday couldn’t stop the skid, as the Marlins fell 2-1 to the Angels (36-38) to equal their longest losing streak since 1998. That team also set a franchise record with 108 losses.
Florida has also lost 11 straight one-run games, matching another club mark for futility.
“I want these guys to have fun,” said McKeon, who guided Florida to a World Series title as interim manager in 2003. “As soon as they start having fun, you’ll see the worm change.
“Everybody is trying to do too much. Once we get one or two wins, they’ll relax a little bit.”
Improvement at the plate could help, as Florida is hitting .211 while averaging 2.5 runs over the last 11 games. The rotation hasn’t been much better with a bloated 6.91 ERA, which improved more than two runs thanks to Chris Volstad(notes) and Anibal Sanchez(notes) combining to allow one earned run in 14 innings over the last two games.
Javier Vazquez(notes) (3-7, 6.85) has struggled greatly at home, winning one of six starts with an 8.23 ERA. His lone victory came May 21 over Tampa Bay as he allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings.
The right-hander has lost both of his home starts since, surrendering 13 runs in 7 2-3 innings.
Vazquez was much better on the road Thursday, allowing two runs in five innings of a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia.
Hanley Ramirez(notes) will likely be back in the lineup after McKeon opted to sit the struggling shortstop Monday before he struck out looking as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. The three-time All-Star is 2 for 19 since returning from a strained lower back that landed him on the disabled list.
Even Angels manager Mike Scioscia feels McKeon’s return to the Marlins will pay dividends.
“I have the utmost respect for Jack McKeon,” Scioscia said. “I’m sure he’s going to work hard to get them going in the right direction.”
That’s certainly where Scioscia has the Angels headed, as they’re 5-2 on this season-high 12-game trip after losing nine of 11.
The right-hander has a 3.92 ERA during his three-game losing streak while getting three total runs of support. He got none Wednesday, when he allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-1 loss at Seattle.
Santana, however, has won three straight interleague starts with a 2.38 ERA.
The Angels are 54-25 during interleague play since 2007 for the best record in baseball.
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