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Marlins-Mets Preview

AP - Sports

Prior to Wednesday's game against the New York Mets, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said it's too early to consider shuffling his scuffling lineup.

That time, however, could be rapidly approaching.

The sputtering Marlins try to avoid losing their fifth straight game in Thursday's finale against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Many expected Miami (7-10) to have an improved offense this season with reigning NL batting champion Jose Reyes leading off. The team is struggling mightily at the plate, however, and Reyes is in the middle of the mess.

After managing three hits while striking out 11 times in a 2-1 loss to the Mets in Tuesday's opener, the Marlins had six hits, one walk and nine strikeouts in Wednesday's 5-1 defeat. Miami has now totaled four runs while batting .148 during its four-game losing streak.

"I don't know if we be facing great pitching or it's a combination of good pitching and bad hitting,'' Guillen said. "But right now, everybody look like Cy Young on the mound.''

Guillen said before Wednesday's loss he has thought about switching Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio at the top of the batting order, but that might signify panic. Reyes is batting .217 and has a .276 on-base percentage - one of the worst marks of all leadoff hitters - while No. 2 hitter Bonifacio has a .373 OBP.

Reyes, who hit .337 last year with the Mets before signing a $106 million, six-year contract with the Marlins in the offseason, went 0 for 4 in his return to New York on Tuesday and was 1 for 4 Wednesday.

Reyes and the rest of the Marlins now hope to get things turned around against Jonathon Niese (2-0, 2.89 ERA), the only pitcher in New York's rotation with a quality start in each of his outings.

After posting a 2.13 ERA in winning his first two starts - both during the day - Niese gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings of Friday night's 4-3, 10-inning loss to San Francisco. This will be another afternoon game, which could bode well for the left-hander - Niese has a 3.68 daytime ERA since the start of last season compared to 4.70 under the lights.

Niese made one start against the Marlins in 2011, yielding two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 6-4, 10-inning victory.

New York (10-8) entered this series having lost five of six, but can sweep the Marlins for the first time since June 4-6, 2010, at Citi Field. The Mets have won six of the last seven meetings in New York, with David Wright leading the way.

In his last 14 home games against the Marlins, Wright is batting .420 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. His two-run homer Wednesday put him atop the Mets' career RBIs list with 735, passing Darryl Strawberry.

"It's nice being mentioned for the individual things but what I really want is to be mentioned, have that type of legacy that those guys had in '86 and even the Mike Piazza era and the Subway Series,'' Wright said.

Wright could be poised for another big game against scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco (2-0, 3.93), against whom he is batting .444 with a homer and two doubles in 18 at-bats since 2010.

Nolasco was 0-1 with 3.95 ERA in two starts against the Mets last season, and is 1-1 with a 5.10 ERA in five career outings at Citi Field.

The right-hander wasn't overly effective last Thursday against Chicago, allowing three runs, eight hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings, but managed to work out of jams in a 5-3 win.

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