Carlos Zambrano has been perhaps better than expected over his first three starts with the Marlins, but is still searching for his first victory.
The emotional righty hopes that Miami's offense can break out of its funk this evening in the first of four straight games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hit the road after a miserable homestand.
Zambrano is 0-1 with a 2.84 earned run average so far this season and has allowed just two runs over his past two outings. However, he still took a loss on Friday in Washington, giving up two hits -- one a solo homer -- over seven innings of a 2-0 loss. The only mistake he made was a third-inning homer to Rick Ankiel.
"I wasn't as aggressive," Zambrano said of his approach to the Ankiel at-bat.
The 30-year-old has faced the Diamondbacks seven times prior, including six starts, going 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA.
Zambrano's loss came in the opener of Miami's weather-shortened five-game road trip, a swing that did not produce a victory and saw the Marlins plate just six runs. They wasted numerous solid outings from their starters, including Ricky Nolasco's seven-inning, one-run effort in Thursday's 3-2 loss at the Mets.
Nolasco was in line for the win until closer Heath Bell allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth. He gave up the tying run on a bases-loaded walk and then saw Kirk Nieuwenhuis smoke a game-winning single to hand Bell his third blown save.
"This road trip was very bad," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We have to throw more strikes and get more hits. That's the only way I can describe it."
In his return to New York, Jose Reyes went 1-for-12 during the series. In fact, the trio of Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez went a combined 4-for-58 on Miami's road trip.
The Diamondbacks know what the Marlins are going through after producing a 3-7 homestand. They lost the final two games of that residency to the Phillies, including Wednesday's 7-2 setback.
Trevor Cahill suffered the loss for allowing four runs over 5 1/3 innings. Paul Goldschmidt and Jason Kubel knocked in runs in the losing effort.
"I felt pretty good today, felt like my ball was moving," Cahill said. "I just couldn't put anybody away when I had to, and couldn't make that big pitch."
Taking the hill for the Diamondbacks tonight is Joe Saunders, who has allowed just three earned runs all season and is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA. Two of those runs came in Saturday's loss to the Braves as he was touched for an unearned run over seven innings of a 3-2 setback. The 30-year-old lefty also struck out five.
Saunders is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career games versus the Marlins.
The Diamondbacks won five of seven versus the Marlins a season ago.