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Marlins-Padres Preview

AP - Sports

With their bullpen in flux, the Miami Marlins could use some more help from their starting rotation.

The San Diego Padres can relate.

The Marlins look to complete a three-game sweep of the Padres and extend their longest winning streak of the season to six Sunday in a matchup of teams currently without clearly defined closers.

Miami relievers threw a combined 28 2-3 innings over an eight-game stretch, culminating in 9 1-3 innings of work during Friday's 12-inning, 9-8 win in the series opener at Petco Park. The Marlins (13-14) didn't need to rely on their bullpen at all Saturday, when Mark Buehrle tossed a five-hitter at the Padres for a 4-1 victory.

That was probably all for the best after manager Ozzie Guillen took closing duties away - at least temporarily - from the struggling Heath Bell earlier Saturday.

The Marlins overcame Bell's fourth blown save in seven chances Friday, coming in his first matchup against his former team. Bell recorded a major league-best 132 saves from 2009-11 for San Diego.

"We're going to move him down for a few days to get him back on track," Guillen told the Marlins' official website. "It's not like we're removing him from his job. I made it clear to him that if we're going to be the club we should be, it's easier for him to be where he's supposed to be."

The Marlins manager indicated he might use Steve Cishek as a closer, but he's not available until at least Tuesday after throwing five innings over a three-day stretch.

Ricky Nolasco (3-0, 2.76 ERA) will try to give the bullpen some more rest and keep Miami improve to 6-0 on its nine-game road trip. The Marlins last won six in a row overall July 6-14, and claimed six straight road wins July 16-28.

Nolasco has worked at least seven innings in each of his last two starts, allowing one run in each. He pitched 7 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 2-1 win at San Francisco to open the trip.

The southern California native is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his last three starts in San Diego.

The Padres (9-19) put their veteran closer, Huston Street, on the disabled list Saturday with a strained right lat muscle. Manager Bud Black said San Diego will employ a committee of relievers to replace Street, with Andrew Cashner, Dale Thayer and Luke Gregerson among the candidates for save chances.

"I think it depends on the night, where we were the night before and usage," Black told the Padres' official website.

Black's bullpen may be taxed heavily Sunday if rookie starter Joe Wieland (0-4, 4.91) can't produce an improved outing.

The 22-year-old right-hander allowed five runs over five innings of an 8-3 loss to Milwaukee on Monday, his fourth defeat in as many starts.

"Joe's a confident kid even though record-wise he's off to a slow start," Black said of Wieland, who has received five total runs of support. "He has pitched some pretty good ballgames."

Black may want to put Mark Kotsay in the lineup for the series finale. The veteran outfielder is 8 for 10 lifetime against Nolasco.

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