It’s taken a month, a series of “home” games at the opposite end of the country, and a managerial change to put the Florida Marlins in position to win back-to-back contests.
The displaced Marlins will try to take two of three from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon in the finale of a scheduling quirk.
With Sun Life Stadium being readied for a concert later this week by supergroup U2, this series was shifted to Safeco Field with Florida designated as the home team and the games played under NL rules.
Florida (34-43) hasn’t won two in a row after beating defending World Series champion San Francisco on May 25 and 26. The Marlins have since gone 5-24, manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned last Sunday after less than a year at the helm and 80-year-old Jack McKeon returned to guide the club.
But behind a solid all-around effort from Chris Volstad(notes), Florida won 4-2 on Saturday. Volstad pitched into the seventh inning for his first victory since April 26, and helped his cause with an RBI single.
“He went right after them tonight and showed us; this is the way I want him to pitch,” McKeon said. “Hopefully the six innings will translate into eight innings and maybe complete games.”
The change in venue hasn’t seemed to do much for the Marlins’ moribund lineup. Florida is batting .183 in the Pacific Northwest, compared to .251 in Miami.
The right-hander has pitched exceptionally well while going seven innings in each of his last two starts, but has failed to get a decision either time.
He surrendered two runs and four hits on May 15 at Philadelphia, but the Marlins lost 5-4 in 10 innings. Sanchez was then reached for one run and eight hits versus the Los Angeles Angels on Monday in McKeon’s debut, however Florida fell 2-1 and tied a franchise record with its 11th straight loss.
Sanchez, who has taken over as the club’s top pitcher with Josh Johnson(notes) sidelined by a shoulder injury, is making his first appearance against Seattle. He is 3-1 in six career interleague starts.
The right-hander had dropped his first three outings while posting a 4.50 ERA. Fister gave up one run and three hits in eight innings Tuesday at Washington, but didn’t get a decision as the Nationals scored five in the ninth to hand the Mariners a 6-5 defeat.
“We even debated sending him back out for the eighth inning because it was so hot and he had been on base a couple of times,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “He had worked so hard, and so that was enough for him today. We felt like we pushed him through the eighth inning.”
Fister has never faced the Marlins.
Florida will stay on the West Coast - this time as a visiting team - to begin a three-game series in Oakland on Tuesday.