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Padres-Marlins Preview

AP - Sports

The Miami Marlins haven't been able to get much going offensively during a rough stretch.

Giving the ball to a struggling Carlos Zambrano is no guarantee that the club can quiet the San Diego Padres' bats.

The Marlins will try to snap an eight-game home losing streak to the Padres in Friday night's series opener.

While Miami (45-53) has made plenty of news over the past few days for a roster shakeup that's sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit and former NL batting champ Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a concern moving forward is the team's offensive woes.

The Marlins have scored 13 runs and are batting 7 for 53 (.132) with runners in scoring position during a 1-7 stretch.

"We need to step up with runners in scoring position," center fielder Justin Ruggiano, who has hit safely in seven straight, said following Wednesday's 7-1 loss to Atlanta.

"Whatever that means. Maybe that means be a little bit more aggressive, maybe that means stop swinging at pitches in the dirt, I don't know. As a team we need to have a better effort and focus a little more. It's time for it to stop being the plague of the Marlins because that's all we hear about."

More run support could help Zambrano (5-8, 4.42 ERA), who is 1-5 with a 7.68 ERA in his last eight starts after going 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in his previous seven.

"If I have to work on something, it would be my delivery, my mechanics," Zambrano told the Marlins' official website after walking a season high-tying six in 3 1-3 innings of Saturday's 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh. "I definitely will work on it (during) my next bullpen session."

Zambrano posted a 7-2 record with a 2.14 ERA in 13 starts against San Diego while with the Chicago Cubs.

After losing two of three at NL West-leading San Francisco, the Padres (42-58) will give the ball to Kip Wells (1-3, 4.00) in their first game at Marlins Park. San Diego outscored the Marlins 23-6 in its last visit to Miami from July 19-21, 2011.

Wells had a rough outing Saturday, yielding season highs of six runs and eight hits in an 8-6, 12-inning loss to Colorado. The veteran right-hander is 5-3 with a 1.93 ERA in nine starts against the Marlins.

If Wells and the bullpen can get the ball to closer Huston Street, the Padres have to like their chances. Street has converted all 17 of his save opportunities and has a 0.91 ERA in 31 appearances.

Marlins closer Heath Bell, who spent the last five seasons with San Diego, has had an awful season with six blown saves and a career-worst 5.90 ERA. There are rumors that the Marlins are looking to deal Bell and starter Josh Johnson before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

Chase Headley could also find himself in a new uniform soon as multiple teams are reportedly looking to acquire the Padres third baseman, who is batting .267 with team highs of 12 home runs and 51 RBIs.

Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes, the reigning NL batting champ, doesn't appear to be going anywhere. Reyes, who is hitting .333 (17 for 51) during a 13-game hitting streak, went 4 for 14 with a double to help Miami sweep a three-game series at San Diego from May 4-6.

The Padres had won the previous eight meetings.

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