National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, July 5th (All times Eastern)
Miami Marlins (39-42) at Milwaukee Brewers (38-43), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Mark Buehrle (7-8, 3.48) Milwaukee - Mike Fiers (3-2, 2.29)
(Sports Network) - Scoring runs has been a problem for Miami at times this season, though certainly not during its series with Milwaukee.
That didn't stop the Marlins from going out and adding a veteran bat to its lineup and they expect to have new addition Carlos Lee in the lineup for today's finale of a four-game set with the Brewers.
The Marlins have scored 24 runs over the first three games of this series, losing the first two contests prior yesterday's 7-6 victory in 10 innings. Despite that production, they are still tied for 13th in the National League with 321 runs scored and are hitting a collective .243.
Miami hopes the addition of Lee can help that. The club sent two prospects to Houston following yesterday's win to acquire the 36-year-old, who is hitting .287 on the season with five homers and 29 runs batted in. Though his power numbers are down, manager Ozzie Guillen is still happy to have the first baseman in his lineup.
"He's a smart hitter," said Guillen, who managed Lee in 2004 while with the White Sox. "A great hitter who's had a great career. He's the type of player we need. It was a huge move."
The Marlins won for the fifth time in seven games on Wednesday, but the disappointing club sits nine games out of first place in the NL East.
Miami rallied from seven runs down to tie the game on Tuesday and went ahead on Jose Reyes' solo homer in the 10th inning, but saw closer Heath Bell give up a walk-off two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the frame. That marked the Marlins 10th straight loss to the Brewers, but they won for the first time over the club since Sept. 25, 2010 with yesterday's extra-inning win.
Gaby Sanchez hit a game-tying solo homer in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday before Hanley Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th with a single.
Bell gave up a double to Rickie Weeks with one out in the bottom of the 10th, but retired the next two batters to notch his 18th save.
"As soon as I gave up a double to Weeks, I thought the game might be over," said Bell. "I really felt bad after yesterday. Today is a new day. I wasn't going to let them beat us this game. Even with yesterday, I still wanted to get in there in the ninth inning. The guy's never gave up. They did their job, and I did mine."
Despite his heroics, Sanchez was sent to Triple-A New Orleans after the game to make room for Lee, while outfielder Giancarlo Stanton sat out again with a right knee ailment. He won't play today and hopes to return on Friday, but he could also opt to sit out through the All-Star break.
Randy Wolf was in line to win for the first time since April 30 despite coughing up a four-run lead, but John Axford blew his fifth save of the season in the ninth when Sanchez homered to right field as Milwaukee had a four-game win streak snapped.
Aramis Ramirez picked up two hits, knocked in a run and scored another for the Milwaukee, but he was unable to deliver with two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"It's disappointing," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought we should have won that game today. It came down to thinking it was Randy's game. Not the last start but before that, we tried to go to the bullpen, and every time we go to the bullpen, we lose the game."
Roenicke will hand the ball to Mike Fiers for today's finale, and though the right-hander hasn't allowed a run since the middle of June, he may not have a spot in the rotation following the All-Star break.
Fiers hasn't given up a run since the third inning of a victory at Minnesota on June 16, hurling 18 1/3 scoreless frames in two starts and one relief appearance since. After throwing 7 1/3 frames of five-hit ball in a no- decision at the White Sox on June 24, Fiers struck out a career-high 10 batters in six innings to beat the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
Despite his impressive run, Fiers could be the odd-man out if Shaun Marcum is ready to return from an elbow injury after the break.
Fiers will try to make it a difficult decision after battling early on against Arizona. He needed 31 pitches to get past the first inning, but allowed only two hits and three walks in the victory, moving to 3-2 with a 2.29 earned run average in seven games (6 starts) on the year.
The 27-year-old, who has never faced the Marlins, took the blame for his slow start.
"It wasn't really them, it was me not hitting my spots," Fiers told Milwaukee's official website. "Early on, I was trying to get in a groove and I couldn't."
Miami also turns to a hurler on an impressive run as left-hander Mark Buehrle has followed a four-start losing streak with consecutive seven-inning victories.
Buehrle followed a scoreless outing versus Toronto by holding Philadelphia to a pair of runs on seven hits while striking out seven on Saturday. He improved to 7-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 16 starts on the season.
The 33-year-old has faced the Brewers twice before, one of those starts, and has a 6.43 ERA without a decision.
07/05 10:37:20 ET