The Miami Marlins are coming off their best offensive performance in three seasons. They may need to deliver a similar effort against the San Diego Padres the way left-hander Wade LeBlanc has been struggling.
LeBlanc will make his first start against his former team - and first at Petco Park as a visitor - Monday night when these last-place clubs begin a three-game set.
Backed by two homers from Justin Ruggiano and a franchise record-tying seven RBIs from Adeiny Hechavarria the Marlins (10-22) pounded out 13 hits in their second consecutive victory Sunday, 14-2 at Philadelphia.
Miami last scored that many runs in a 16-10 win over Washington on Sept. 1, 2010.
“To keep adding on … not only for the score, but for our guys, to stay hungry, and to keep grinding out at-bats and keep putting the pressure on, that’s what we needed,” manager Mike Redmond told the Marlins’ official website. “For guys to go up and be a little greedy and take advantage was good to see.”
The NL East-worst Marlins, who last won three straight road games July 4-6, would like to see a good outing from LeBlanc (0-4, 6.23 ERA) in his return to Petco. The left-hander, who faced the Padres twice out of the bullpen last season - his first with Miami after four with the Padres - is 0-7 with a 5.49 ERA in 11 starts since his last victory Aug. 17.
LeBlanc was in a good position to change that Wednesday before giving away a 3-0 first-inning lead in a 7-6 loss to the New York Mets.
“It’s kind of frustrating now,” he said after yielding four runs and eight hits for a second consecutive outing.
Right-hander Andrew Cashner (1-2, 4.24) hopes his frustrations will end Monday when the Padres (13-18), last in the NL West, go for a ninth win in 12 games. The converted reliever is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his first three starts this season after yielding five runs and walking a career-high four in four innings of Wednesday’s 6-2 loss at Wrigley Field.
“When I was missing it was just off the plate instead of going after guys,” said Cashner, who also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. “I really never got a feel for my secondary stuff in the strike zone.”
Still, Padres catcher John Baker acquired in the 2011 LeBlanc deal, has faith in the right-hander’s stuff.
“There’s a ton of upside there,” Baker told MLB’s official website of Cashner, who has an 11.57 ERA in four relief appearances against Miami.
Cashner should be careful pitching to rookie Marcell Ozuna who is 11 for 23 (.478) with a homer and four RBIs since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville on April 30 to replace injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton (strained right hamstring).
“I feel really good up there. I feel comfortable,” Ozuna said Sunday after his four-hit, three-RBI game.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley looks pretty good at the plate, too, batting .368 (14 for 38) with two homers and six RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak. Headley had six hits in 25 at-bats as San Diego dropped five of six to Miami last season, including all three at Petco from May 4-6.
The Marlins had dropped their previous five in San Diego.