Marlins-Royals Preview


As dazzling as the pitching staff has been in the Miami Marlins' wins this month, it has been fairly awful in the defeats.

Jacob Turner's road struggles may mean the club is headed for more of the latter.

After the Marlins got another victory via shutout, Turner looks for the first road win of his career in the finale of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

Miami (45-73) owns the worst record in the NL and is 4-8 this month. The pitchers, however, have provided flashes of brilliance.

The staff has pitched shutouts in each of those four victories, including Tuesday's 1-0, 10-inning win over Kansas City (62-55). Opposing batters have hit .129 in those wins compared to .292 in the eight defeats while the Marlins have posted a 5.05 ERA.

Another dominant showing could make the Marlins the first team to post shutouts in five straight wins since the Los Angeles Dodgers did it June 27-July 9, 2011.

Giving the ball to Turner (3-4, 2.95 ERA) in Kansas City may not inspire much confidence since he's 0-7 in 11 career road starts. He does have a respectable 3.71 ERA in those games but hasn't been very good in losing the last four, giving up 13 runs and 23 hits in 22 innings.

The 22-year-old right-hander matched his career high by giving up three homers Friday in Atlanta, allowing all of the Braves' runs and walking three in a 5-0 loss.

"I just didn't make pitches," Turner told the team's official website.

He failed to do that for Detroit in his only meeting with the Royals on Sept. 1, 2011. Turner was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, not getting a decision in an 11-8 loss in just his second major league game.

He may gain some inspiration from Jose Fernandez's gem Tuesday, when the 21-year-old phenom allowed three hits in seven innings.

Fellow rookie Christian Yelich, 22, is also having an impact since being recalled from Double-A Jacksonville last month. The left fielder had three hits Tuesday, including the go-ahead single, and has a .378 average in nine wins compared to .240 in 12 defeats.

The Royals are looking to re-establish themselves offensively after being limited to four singles Tuesday. They were batting .293 and averaging 5.0 runs while winning 17 of the previous 20 games.

Alcides Escobar had two hits for the second straight game to give him a .447 average in the past 10. Billy Butler singled and has a .464 average over his last seven.

Ervin Santana (8-6, 3.25) is scheduled to take the mound, and the Royals have won each of his last five starts. He's earned the win in three of them, but he's coming off his worst performance of the stretch.

The right-hander surrendered six runs and nine hits while hitting two batters in 3 2-3 innings of a 9-6 home win over Boston on Friday. He had a 1.27 ERA over his previous four outings.

Santana has lost both of his career starts versus the Marlins, with the most recent coming June 21, 2011, with the Los Angeles Angels.