07/01 Padres Preview: Game 83 @ Miami

USA TODAY Sports

Another loss yesterday puts the Padres back two games under .500. Thankfully the rest of the NL West, save for the last place Dodgers, haven't been doing well lately either, so the Padres still claim the third place spot and sit just 2.5 games out of first. Tonight they'll close out the series in Miami and try to kick off July with a win and salvage a split before continuing their road trip in Boston.

San Diego has dropped four of its last five games and now faces the possibility of a series loss to the Marlins. They'll send Jason Marquis to the mound in tonight's series finale to try to get back in the win column. Prior to his last start, Marquis was riding an eight-game win streak and the Padres had won 10 of 11 of his starts. But when he toed the rubber against the Phillies last Tuesday, he suffered his first loss in 12 outings as he gave up six runs while issuing a season-high five walks in just 4 1/3 innings. But despite leading the majors in walks (53) this season, Marquis is on track for one of the most winningest seasons in his career and his first double-digit win total since 2009.

Marquis is 7-6 with a 5.67 lifetime ERA against Miami and he had arguably his best start of the season when the Marlins came to Petco Park in May. He threw eight innings of shutout ball in which he allowed only five hits and walked one batter.

One of the Marlins held hitless by Marquis in that matchup was Marcell Ozuna. He comes into tonight's game riding a nine-game hitting streak that he hopes to extend. During the streak, he's hitting .382 with a home run and nine RBI. Derek Dietrich went 1-for-3 against Marquis on May 8th and went 1-for-3 yesterday as well, hitting a two-run double to put the Marlins on the board. He has now gone 5-for-11 in the series so far and hopes to continue that success against Padres pitching tonight.

San Diego has been just the latest of Miami's recent victims. The Marlins come into tonight's series finale having finished the month of June with a 15-10 mark for their most successful month in over a year. This was after going 14-41 in April and May. They've won seven of their last nine games and, though still possessing the worst record in the league, have begun an upward swing while seeing some recent improvements in their starting rotation.

Tonight they'll see if rookie Jose Fernandez can continue that trend. The right-hander wasn't his sharpest in his last outing but still kept the Twins to just one run on four hits and came out with a no-decision. He went 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in five June starts to pull his season record to an even 4-4. In seven starts at home this year, he is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and .189 opponents' batting average.

The Padres have done poorly at the plate since the opening of this series when they put up nine runs. In the two games since then, they've only managed to string together three runs while batting a collective .194 against Marlins pitching. They have now lost eight of the twelve games they've played since their 7-0 run in the middle of June.

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