A miserable start to June has the Florida Marlins in danger of falling below .500. They might have the right pitching matchup to avoid that fate.
The Marlins will try to continue their success against the Arizona Diamondbacks' Zach Duke in Monday night's four-game series finale.Florida's continued lack of clutch hitting played a big part in Sunday's 5-1 defeat to Arizona, its 10th loss in 11 June games. The Marlins (32-32) went 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position for the first time since July 19, 2009, and are 0 for 18 in their last two games."The timely hitting is not there," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We're failing with runners in scoring position. But we're battling there. I'm sure if they keep pushing the way they're doing right now that we're going to get out of this."There's not too many options. Yeah, I can shuffle the lineup; I already did that. They have to go out there and keep battling and everything else will start going our way."Rodriguez's team has batted .133 with runners in scoring position during a 2-12 stretch and .119 in RBI situations while dropping four of six to Arizona (36-30) this season. Florida, which earned its only victory of the month in Friday's series opener, is trying to avoid falling below .500 for the first time since starting 1-2.The Marlins, though, have won all seven of their previous matchups with Duke (1-1, 2.37 ERA). The left-hander is 0-5 with a 6.49 ERA in those meetings, but has been pitching well in three starts this season since returning from a fractured pitching hand.Duke gave up one run and scattered nine hits over seven innings against his former Pittsburgh teammates Wednesday but did not get a decision in a 3-2 defeat."Zach did a great job," manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "He didn't walk anybody and ... had them off-balance."Probable Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (4-1, 3.86) has usually thrown Arizona off-balance. He's 5-1 with a 3.38 lifetime ERA versus the Diamondbacks, but has only one win in his last seven outings overall.The right-hander is coming off one of his better starts. He allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings against Atlanta on Wednesday, but got outdueled by the Braves' Derek Lowe in Florida's 3-2 defeat.It was the second time in three starts that the Marlins failed to give him Nolasco any run support. After that loss, the Marlins fired hitting coach John Mallee and replaced him with Eduardo Perez, son of Hall of Famer and team special assistant Tony Perez.Nolasco might want to be careful with Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew, who had three hits in Sunday's victory and is batting .396 in his last 14 contests.Drew is 10 for 18 with three homers in his career against Nolasco, while Justin Upton is 0 for 7 with three strikeouts.The Diamondbacks are seeking their 12th win in 16 road games, while the Marlins will try to avoid dropping to 1-11 in their last 12 at home.