While the Padres continue to stumble, the Marlins enter Tuesday night’s three-game series opener at Sun Life Stadium as one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Florida (47-49) has played like anything but the NL East’s bottom dweller of late, outscoring opponents 60-28 over its current 9-1 run.
“We’re interested in winning,” interim manager Jack McKeon said following Monday’s 4-1 victory in a makeup game in New York. “We’re not going to worry about hurting anybody’s feelings. I would think that everyone on this club would be interested in winning, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Sanchez, who went 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA from May 8-June 26, allowed a combined 12 runs over 7 2-3 innings spanning two starts before the All-Star break. The extended time off, however, seemed to do Sanchez some good, as he yielded two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings of Thursday’s 6-3 win at Chicago.
The right-hander, 3-0 with a 3.51 ERA in nine home starts, went 0-1 in two outings versus San Diego last season despite compiling a 2.19 ERA.
Sanchez might be able to build on his impressive home efforts versus the Padres, who are batting .179 while losing eight of nine.
Manager Bud Black’s team dropped three of four to San Francisco over the weekend, including Sunday’s 4-3, 11-inning defeat during which it allowed a season-worst six stolen bases.
Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio(notes), batting .394 over a career-best 17-game hitting streak - the longest active run in the majors - has wreaked havoc on the base paths with an MLB-best 13 stolen bases since June 28. While he’ll likely look to run again in this one, he could have a hard time getting on base versus Tim Stauffer(notes), who is 4-2 with a 1.50 ERA over his last seven games.
Stauffer (5-6, 2.97), though, is coming off somewhat of a shaky performance, allowing three runs, three hits and a career worst-tying five walks in six innings of a 4-1 road loss to Los Angeles on July 10.
“My game is being around the strike zone,” he told the Padres’ official website. “A game like that, I kind of got away from it a little bit.”
Stauffer didn’t receive a decision after surrendering one run in six innings of his only career start versus Florida, a 3-2 loss July 20, 2009. Hanley Ramirez(notes), 2 for 3 with a homer against him, is the only active Marlin to have recorded a hit versus the right-hander.
Stauffer will look to add to Gaby Sanchez’s(notes) recent woes. The All-Star first baseman hit .312 with 12 homers over his first 71 games, but he’s gone 17 for 91 (.187) with one home run in the past 25.
“He was the one guy that was really carrying us before I got here,” McKeon said of Sanchez, who is 6 for 32 (.188) lifetime against San Diego. “Since I got here, the other guys have picked up. That’d be nice if he jumps in there.”
San Diego, on the verge of a season worst-tying sixth consecutive road loss, is in the midst of a franchise-best five-game winning streak at Florida.