The Miami Marlins try to avoid a sixth straight loss on Friday evening when they open a three-game series with a Philadelphia Phillies squad that is looking to reach .500 on the young season.
The Marlins have been held to just eight runs over their current skid and were shut out twice in their recent three-game series versus the Atlanta Braves. Miami has been held without a run in four of its nine games this season.
Despite seven hits, including two by former Phillie Placido Polanco, the Marlins failed to cross the plate in Wednesday's 8-0 setback. Starter Alex Sanabia kept the Braves off the board through the first four innings, but gave up six runs in the fifth to end his outing.
"Really what we've been talking about the last few days, we're just not able to execute," said Miami manager Mike Redmond.
Redmond has used a different lineup in all nine games this season, but has yet to find one that has brought success. Miami's 1-8 record is its worst start since losing 11 of 12 to begin the 198 campaign.
Veteran Ricky Nolasco will try to get his club into the win column on Friday in his first home start of the season. The Marlins righty dropped a 2-0 decision to the Washington Nationals on April 1 in the season opener, then go a no-decision on Saturday versus the New York Mets.
Nolasco gave up three runs on six hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. He didn't give up a homer against the Mets after giving up two in the loss to the Nats.
The 30-year-old is 8-5 lifetime versus the Phillies with a 3.86 earned run average in 18 games (15 starts).
Philadelphia comes in at 4-5 on the year and off its first series win of the campaign. After losing two of three to both the Braves and Kansas City Royals, the Phillies took the rubber match of their three-game set with the Mets 7-3 on Wednesday.
Chase Utley connected on a two-run homer and Domonic Brown capped a five-run first inning with a three-run shot. The Phillies have plated 25 runs over their last four games and have gone deep six times in the past two after connecting on just four homers over the first seven contests of the season.
Laynce Nix added a pinch-hit two-run homer in the sixth, while Kyle Kendrick picked up the win after allowing two runs over six innings.
"These last four or five games, we've been going out there and just swinging," said Phils first baseman Ryan Howard. "Keep going out there, swinging and putting the ball in play, good things happen."
John Lannan hopes that is the case tonight as he makes his second start with the Phillies.
The lefty was solid in his debut with the club last Saturday, yielding three runs on five hits over seven innings without a walk. He also struck out five, but did not get a decision as he exited the game trailing 3-1. Philadelphia rallied for a win with a three-run double by Kevin Frandsen in the bottom of the ninth.
Lannan, 28, is 3-5 with a 5.04 ERA in 11 career meetings with the Marlins.
The Phillies have won the season series with the Marlins in each of the previous three years, winning 10 of 18 in 2012. However, they went just 4-5 in Miami.