The Miami Marlins underwent an offseason full of upgrades, but the positive results may not be coming as quickly as they anticipated.
One of the new additions will try to help them get on track.
Mark Buehrle takes the mound for Miami when it tries to avoid a second straight loss to the host Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night.
A new ballpark, a name change and multiple new players haven't provided immediate satisfaction for the Marlins (2-4), especially after new manager Ozzie Guillen's controversial remarks regarding Cuban dictator Fidel Castro landed him in hot water with the local community.
Guillen began serving a five-game suspension Wednesday during Miami's 7-1 loss to the Phillies. He apologized to his players prior to the game for causing a distraction.
"It was good to see him here," said closer Heath Bell, an offseason signing from San Diego. "We support him. We're going to try and do our best without him."
Buehrle played under Guillen for the last eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox before following his skipper to Miami in the offseason, and he'll look for another solid outing but a different result in his second start with the Marlins.
The veteran left-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-0 loss at Cincinnati last Thursday in his NL debut. Miami will hope to provide Buehrle with more run support, but its only run Wednesday came on an RBI groundout by pitcher Josh Johnson.
Buehrle made three interleague starts against Philadelphia while pitching for Chicago, winning each despite a 5.06 ERA. He'll face a Phillies offense that seems to be getting untracked despite still missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Philadelphia (2-3) totaled eight runs in its first four games, but it used a five-run third inning Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak.
Carlos Ruiz homered and every starter except pitcher Roy Halladay had at least one hit. Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 with an RBI and said the Phillies can't let up after the breakout performance.
"It's only Game 5, we have to forget about it and get ready for tomorrow, but yeah, it's great to get seven runs," Victorino said. "We'll definitely take it, and we just have to keep on doing the little things. Whether it's laying down a bunt, stealing a base, small ball, that's what we're going to have to do. And the thing about it is it works. I can't see us changing that philosophy, even when the big guys come back."
Joe Blanton hopes for similar run support in his first start of 2012.
Blanton missed most of last season with elbow problems and finished 1-2 with a 5.01 ERA in 11 appearances, including eight starts. He came on in relief Saturday, recording two outs before allowing the winning run in the 10th inning of a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh.
The right-hander would seem to have a good chance for a solid outing in his return to the rotation, as he's 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA in nine career starts against the Marlins.
Hanley Ramirez has a hit in each of the last four games for Miami, and he's 7 for 19 (.368) in his career against Blanton.