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News » Marlins-Rockies Preview 2009-05-08

Marlins-Rockies Preview 2009-05-08

Marlins-Rockies Preview 2009-05-08
Coming off a career year in 2008, Ricky Nolasco hasn't approached that level of success this season.

Facing a Colorado Rockies club he's never lost to may be what the right-hander and the Florida Marlins need to return to their winning ways.

Nolasco takes the mound Friday night at Coors Field as the slumping Marlins open a three-game set against the Rockies.

Florida (15-14) looks to get back on track as it begins a six-game road trip following a 1-3 homestand. The Marlins lost 4-2 to Atlanta on Thursday, with Anibal Sanchez yielding four runs in 4 2-3 innings before leaving with right shoulder discomfort.

The Marlins have gone a franchise-record 20 consecutive games without a victory from a starter.

"(Anibal) was in pain," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team is 4-13 since winning 11 of 12 to open the season. "You always think worse-case scenario, but I don't know."

If Nolasco (1-3, 7.03 ERA) is going to be the first Florida starter to earn a win since Sanchez defeated the Braves on April 16, he'll have to improve upon his most recent outing. In Sunday's 6-4 loss to Chicago, Nolasco gave up a grand slam to Derrek Lee and allowed five earned runs and eight hits.

Nolasco won a career-best 15 games with a 3.52 ERA in 2008 but is 0-3 with a 6.92 ERA since beating Washington on opening day April 6.

"When you're rolling, this game is great," Nolasco told the Marlins' official Web site. "When you're struggling, you don't get any help."

Nolasco is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two career starts versus the Rockies. He won 5-3 on Aug. 2 in his last start against them, giving up three runs and striking out a career-high 13 in eight innings.

Colorado (11-16) counters with Jason Hammel, who makes his third start and sixth appearance this season. Hammel (0-0, 3.45), acquired from Tampa Bay in April, pitched six innings Sunday as the Rockies fell 1-0 in 10 innings to San Francisco.

"I've worked a lot on the side building my arm strength," said Hammel, who lasted just three innings in his first start of the season April 27. "Getting through some innings proves my arm strength is back. Throwing strikes is the key."

Hammel, who has a 9.53 ERA in two Coors Field outings this season, makes his first career start against Florida after two relief appearances versus the Marlins.

Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit two solo homers Thursday and is batting .444 (8 for 18) with two doubles and three home runs during a five-game hitting streak. He batted .400 (8 for 20) at Coors as Florida dropped three of four there last season.

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton pushed his hit streak to 10 games with a single in Thursday's 8-3 loss to San Francisco. Colorado, though, managed four hits and recorded its lowest run total at home this season.

"We didn't do much to help ourselves today, across the board," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Helton, 10 hits shy of 2,000, is batting .500 (19 for 38) since his average dipped to .255 on April 25. He's hitting .352 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 64 games against Florida, although he missed all eight meetings with the Marlins last season due to a lower back injury.

Brad Hawpe and Ian Stewart homered in Thursday's loss. Hawpe is 1 for 5 lifetime versus Nolasco, while Stewart is hitless in three at-bats against him.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 8, 2009

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