MLB Insiders: Miami Marlins

Kevin Correia

The Pirates open a three-game series with the Miami Marlins on Friday night at PNC Park. Right-hander Kevin Correia will toe the rubber for the Bucs. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco gets the start for the Marlins.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were pleased with how they closed out their road trip.

A six-game homestand provides the opportunity to continue the momentum.

The Pirates begin a three-game set against the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

After losing two of three at Milwaukee coming out of the All-Star break, Pittsburgh (51-40) rebounded to win the final two games of its series at Colorado, earning a split of the six-game road trip with a 9-6 victory Wednesday.

Pittsburgh is one-half game behind Cincinnati for first place in the NL Central. The Pirates will try to reclaim the division lead at home, where they have won 18 of their last 22.

Miami arrives in the Steel City after dropping the final two contests of a three-game series in Chicago.

The Marlins went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position during Thursday's 4-2 defeat.

Miami, which ranks 29th in batting average with runners in scoring position at .227, is hitting .162 in RBI situations over the last 10 games.

The underperforming Marlins (44-48), who entered the season with high hopes amid the opening of a new stadium, several high-priced acquisitions and the signing of Ozzie Guillen as manager, now could be sellers as the trade deadline approaches.

Probable starter Ricky Nolasco (8-7, 4.47 ERA) will try to get the Marlins - and himself - back on track after he gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-0 loss to Washington on Sunday.

The right-hander has won four straight starts against the Pirates. Three of those were scoreless outings.

Pittsburgh will counter with Kevin Correia (6-6, 4.25), who is looking to match a career best by winning his fourth straight start.

The right-hander has a 5.29 ERA over his last three outings, but has been helped by generous support. Correia gave up four runs - two earned - in six innings of a 6-4 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday.

Correia is 2-4 with a 7.24 ERA in 14 appearances - seven starts - versus the Marlins. He gave up six runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss May 15 in Miami, part of a two-game series that the teams split.

The Marlins have won six straight in Pittsburgh.

After their offseason roster makeover, the Marlins never expected to be 44-48 after 92 games and 10 games out in the division and 6 1/2 out of the wild card.

"I think with the talent we have here we should win more games than we have and it hasn't happened," baseball operations president Larry Beinfest said Thursday.

Now, the Marlins could decide this weekend if they will trade off players who might be attractive to other teams in the hunt.

"We need to win games to make sure we are on the periphery of even thinking about getting into things," Beinfest said after Miami's 4-2 loss to the Cubs on Thursday.

"We are in a tough spot. Believe in your talent and hope they get hot, and I think that's where we are at right now. But every day that goes by it gets tougher and tougher to do that."

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he is not under the impression that drastic moves are in place. But he said that could change this weekend depending on how the team does on its three-game series in Pittsburgh.

"Right now to be honest I don't think we have anything, at least they don't mention to me any move. They might wait until Pittsburgh," Guillen said.

"I think we have good players. I think we can compete. It's up to them to see who stays or who goes."

Notes, Quotes

SS Jose Reyes has seen his batting average remain at .264 despite a seven-game hitting streak. He has exactly one hit in each game of the streak, during which he's batting .259 with one extra-base hit, a homer, and one RBI.

LHP Mark Buehrle returned to Chicago and lost for the fisrt time in five starts. He allowed four runs in five innings to snap a personal four-game winning streak.

CF Emilio Bonifacio went 0 for 4 Thursday. He came into the game with hits in five consecutive games after going 0-for-3 on his return from the disabled list. On the season, Bonifacio has hit safely in 39 of 46 games.

RHP Edward Mujica pitched 1/3 of an inning Thursday in his first appearance Thursday since June 29. He came off the disabled list Wednesday (broken right pinky toe).

2B Omar Infante went 1 for 3 with a walk, making him 19-for-43 (.442) in 14 career games at Wrigley Field.

By The Numbers: 4—Double plays turned by the Marlins on Thursday, including an usual one that was scored 4-2-5-1-6-4.

Quote To Note: "The reality is I think every game is now magnified. We just have to start winning games…or else we are going to lose complete contact and then we'll have to make decisions from there." —Larry Beinfest, Miami's baseball operations president, after a 4-2 loss to the Cubs.

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