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Marlins vs Pirates---7:05et--at PNC Park


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vs.

 

 

 

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AJ Burnett (1-3, 4.40) vs. Kris Benson (6-7, 4.42)

 

 

 

07/11/2004 9:09 PM ET

Burnett, Marlins tangle with Pirates

Florida (45-43) at Pittsburgh (39-47), 7:05 p.m. ET

By Charlie Nobles / Special to MLB.com

 

 

Marlins right-hander A.J. Burnett, approaching top form after a long recovery from arm surgery, has one hurdle remaining to show that he is completely back, and that is to pitch well on the road.

 

He'll get a chance to do that when the Marlins start the season's second half at the Pirates on Friday night.

 

Burnett is 1-1 with a 2.95 earned run average in his last six games. Teams have hit a paltry .171 against him.

 

Yet his road ledger looks far more vulnerable. He is 0-3 with a 7.70 ERA in four road starts this season. In fact, his last road victory came on July 27, 2002. His last start on the road was against the Braves, when he gave up five hits and three runs in one-plus innings.

 

Burnett will oppose Pirates right-hander Kris Benson, who has won two of his last three decisions after losing three in a row. In his last outing, he shut out the Expos for seven innings but got a no-decision. In the previous start, he allowed two runs in seven innings in a 5-3 victory over the Brewers.

 

The Marlins hope now that Burnett is more effective, they will be able to string together a second-half run similar to last season's, when they wound up winning the World Series. When last seen before the All-Star break, they had won two straight games.

 

 

 

 

Players to Watch:(Credit: Charlie Nobles & Bill Ladson / Special to MLB.com)

  • Miguel Cabrera, the 220-pound outfielder known far more for power than speed, stole his third base of the season on Sunday against the Mets. With the fleet Juan Pierre on third, there was no throw.
  • Lefty-hitting Hee Seop Choi got another start against a southpaw on Sunday. He struck out and flied out against Al Leiter.
  • All-Star shortstop Jack Wilson has gone 4-for-8 against the Marlins this season.

Quotable:(Credit: Charlie Nobles & Bill Ladson / Special to MLB.com)

"I think he can be like a fireman -- two days on, one day off."-- Marlins manager Jack McKeon on whether injury-plagued catcher Mike Redmond can last the rest of the season

 

"It is very frustrating, very disappointing. We'll just have to regroup for the second half."-- Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon after his team dropped three of four games in San Juan to the Montreal Expos

 

 

 

On Television:

Marlins station: PAX

Pirates station: FSN

 

On Radio:

Marlins station: Sports radio/WQAM 560 AM; WQBA 1140 AM Spanish

Pirates station: KDKA 1020 AM

 

On Internet:

MLB.TV

Gameday Audio

 

On Webcast:

DT, rferry, Cape, and Co...

 

 

 

DT's Prediction: AJ gets his 2nd win, Fish win 7-2 dammit...

 

 

 

  • This thread will be locked 3 hours after the game has ended.

 

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  STANDINGS ::::::

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Team

 

W

L

 

PCT.

GB

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  Phillies

 

 

46

41

.529

-

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  Braves

 

45

42

.517

1.0

 

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  Marlins

 

45

43

 

.511

1.5

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  Mets

 

 

44

43

.506

2.0

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  Expos

 

31

56

.356

15.0

 

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Yahoo! Sports Game Preview

The Florida Marlins hope the momentum they built before the All-Star break carries over to the second half of the season as they open a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

The defending World Series champions, locked in a tight NL East race, struggled through a 13-23 stretch before winning twice last weekend.

 

``I don't think the All-Star break could have come at a better time to give guys a few days off and come back re-energized,'' Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. ``Expectations are a whole lot higher than last year.''

 

Florida spent most of the season's first three months atop the NL East, but briefly sank to fourth place. However, the Marlins reached the All-Star break with a winning record, just 1 1/2 games behind division leader Philadelphia.

 

Atlanta is one game out of first, and the New York Mets are two back.

 

When the Marlins made their improbable run to the title last year, they were 49-46 at the break. but 13 games out of first place.

 

Pittsburgh had an excellent run before the break, but is still lingering near the bottom of the NL Central. A 10-game winning streak and a burst of 12 victories in 16 games pulled the Pirates out of last place.

 

``We're playing at a little better pace, but it's still not acceptable,'' general manager Dave Littlefield said. ``We've still got to win more games. But we're a much different club than you saw last season going into the second half.''

 

The Pirates are hoping their younger players, particularly Jason Bay, will continue to improve. Bay, who missed 40 percent of the first half because of a sore right shoulder, is hitting .304 with 12 homers and 39 RBIs.

 

``When Jason (Bay) has been out there, he's been killing it,'' Littlefield said.

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