The Miami Marlins shoot for a fourth straight win this evening when they open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
However, extending that streak may prove to be difficult, as the Marlins lost all seven games they played with the Padres last season and are just 4-15 in their last 19 meetings against them.
The Marlins had lost eight of nine before opening up a nine-game road trip in San Francisco. Miami, though, got tremendous starting pitching and swept the three-game set with the Giants, culminating with a 3-2 win on Thursday.
Anibal Sanchez spun seven strong innings of one-run ball and Hanley Ramirez had two runs batted in despite being held hitless while Brett Hayes tallied three hits and scored twice for the Marlins, who have won four of six.
"Not quite there where we want to be, hitting wise," said Jose Reyes. "But still, we want to win."
Miami's staff pitched to a 1.61 ERA in the series. Hopefully ace Josh Johnson can follow suit tonight, but he enters tonight's contest 0-3 with a 5.34 ERA.
Johnson's latest setback came on Sunday to Arizona, which battered him for five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. In his previous two starts, though, Johnson had allowed just three earned runs on 10 hits with 12 strikeouts over 13 2/3 innings.
"He had bad location," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said of his ace. "He wasn't throwing it where he wants, and he paid the price."
Johnson has faced the Padres six times (four starts) and is 1-2 with a 2.43 ERA against them.
San Diego, meanwhile, will counter with righty Anthony Bass, who is 1-3 with a 2.30 ERA. Bass was dealt a hard-luck loss on Saturday in San Francisco, as he went eight innings and allowed just two runs in a 2-1 setback.
After opening the year in the Padres' bullpen, Bass has pitched to a 2.31 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 10 walks in 23 1/3 innings of work since sliding into the rotation.
"He's quieted down his delivery and that's helped him make more consistent pitches," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It's just a maturation process, and he's learning it on the job."
San Diego comes into tonight's contest on the heels of an impressive series win over the Milwaukee Brewers that saw the Padres blank the defending NL Central champions in the final two games of the three-game set.
In Wednesday's rubber match, Jeff Suppan tossed five scoreless innings and Cameron Maybin added a two-run single in a three-run third, helping San Diego to a 5-0 win.
Jesus Guzman contributed a pinch-hit, two-run double for the Padres, who had dropped three in a row before taking the last two of the set with the Brewers.
Suppan (1-0), who was called up from Triple-A Tucson and making his first major-league start since the tail end of 2010, scattered four hits, walked two and struck out two.
"When a guy keeps wanting to play and getting an opportunity to come back to the big leagues and win a major league game, it's wonderful," San Diego manager Bud Black said.
The Marlins have lost five in a row in San Diego.