Not even a pep talk from owner and CEO Jeffrey Loria could get the Miami Marlins back on track.
Loria's prized possession is caught in a major funk and a return to south Florida could help the Marlins, who will start a nine-game homestand tonight with the first of three meetings with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Besides playing in front of the home crowd, the Marlins have a good shot at bouncing back since they have won eight in a row against the Blue Jays and are 14-4 in this series since the 1998 campaign.
The Marlins had a 15-minute meeting with Loria following a 15-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox, then dropped a 6-5 decision last night in the series finale at Fenway Park. Giancarlo Stanton homered and both Greg Dobbs and Omar Infante finished with two hits and two RBI for Miami, which has lost four in a row and 13 of its last 15 contests. Miami blew a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning, as Will Middlebrooks homered and Daniel Nava added an RBI single.
Edward Mujica was dealt the loss and starter Carlos Zambrano lasted five innings on the hill, surrendering three runs and five hits.
"It's not about how you start, it's how you finish. Our finish line was very narrow," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We have to step it up a notch."
Miami, which scored five runs in each loss to the Red Sox, went 1-5 on the road trip and will turn to Anibal Sanchez for some relief this evening at Marlins Park. Sanchez may not be the best option to rally the troops since he is just 1-5 with a 4.13 earned run average in his last eight starts.
Sanchez did not record a decision in Saturday's 4-3 win at Tampa Bay and was reached for three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He is 3-5 in 13 starts this season to go along with a 3.47 ERA and has never faced Toronto. The right-hander has made seven starts at home in 2012, going 1-4 with a 4.60 ERA.
Toronto lost two of three games in Milwaukee to open a 10-day, nine-game road trip and is coming off Wednesday's 8-3 setback to the Brewers at Miller Park.
The Blue Jays' rotation has been hit hard by the injury bug and Joel Carreno was the latest to take the mound. Carreno was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and lasted only three innings, giving up five runs and five hits, including a trio of home runs.
"In this ballpark, it's unforgiving," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "If you make a mistake and it's elevated, you're going to pay for it. They swung the bats exceptionally well today."
Edwin Encarnacion homered for a third straight game and Jose Bautista finished 0-for-4 at the plate. Bautista had reached base safely in 19 consecutive contests, collecting 10 homers and 20 RBI over that period. Toronto is second in the majors with 101 home runs. The Yankees are first with 105.
Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie left Wednesday's game after the seventh inning due to right knee soreness. He sustained the problem after sliding into third base in the seventh inning, and is expected to play tonight.
"It's not enough to make me not play, but at the same time, I just thought it was time to throw some ice on it," Lawrie said Wednesday on the club's site. "And tomorrow we've got an off day, which is good. We can obviously treat it tomorrow and ice it all day and then be back in there the next day."
The Blue Jays added pitcher Sean O'Sullivan on Thursday in a deal with Kansas City to bolster rotation depth. Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison and Dustin McGowan are all sidelined due to injury, but ace Ricky Romero gets the nod Friday in Miami. Romero has been fortunate to avoid any setbacks this season and is 3-0 in his last six starts.
Romero has recorded consecutive no-decisions and previously pitched in Saturday's 6-5 win over Philadelphia, as he battled through six innings and permitted four runs and seven hits. The lefty is 7-1 with a lofty 4.28 ERA in 14 starts this season and will take on the Marlins for the first time. He is 2-1 in seven starts away from Rogers Centre this season.
Toronto will also visit Boston on the trek and hasn't defeated the Marlins since a 7-6 win in 10 innings on June 8, 2001.