The only starter to win a game for the Marlins in nearly three weeks tries to prevent the team’s 15th loss in 17 games Saturday against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, who took the series opener convincingly.
Miami (33-37) has been outscored 113-41 during a 2-14 stretch, falling 12-5 to Toronto on Friday. It’s hitting .205 during the slump - by far the worst average in the majors in that time frame - while also compiling an MLB-worst 6.89 ERA.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said his players need to stop making excuses and help themselves.
“I was from an era in baseball when Budweiser and vodka took care of the psychiatric things,” Guillen said. “You fail, you get drunk and you come back the next day to see how good it feels. The psycho guys - the doctors - they never played this game. They never wore the uniform. They never came out of a slump. They’re not used to it, so how are they going to help?”
Johnson (4-5, 4.18 ERA) has done his best to help during Miami’s rough stretch, posting a 2.18 ERA in three starts. He’s 1-2 in those outings, though, after giving up two runs in six innings of a 3-0 loss Sunday at Tampa Bay.
The right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts, with the Marlins going 6-2, but he walked a season-high four Sunday and wasn’t especially pleased with his outing.
“A lot of balls and struggling to find the zone,” Johnson told the Marlins’ official website. “I battled, though.”
Johnson is 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last nine interleague starts and has won both of his career meetings with Toronto, most recently pitching a complete game in an 11-3 victory June 14, 2009.
He’ll face a Blue Jays team that has won five of seven, ending an eight-game losing streak versus Miami with Friday’s victory.
The leadoff man has a .442 on-base percentage in his last 11 games.
“I’m seeing the ball well and just trying to get on base for the guys behind me to allow them to do their job,” Lawrie said.
Cecil (1-0, 3.60) allowed two solo homers among five hits in five innings of a 6-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, marking his first victory since July 29. He went 0-7 with a 5.16 ERA in his final 10 starts last season before a rough spring training caused Toronto to send him to the minors.
“The curveball has gotten a lot better and it’s a lot tighter,” Cecil told the team’s official website. “That, and just being able to control the ball a lot better with all of my pitches and throwing to both sides of the plate.”
The Blue Jays (36-34) have lost seven of 10 all-time meetings with the Marlins in Florida.