(AP) — If the Miami Marlins’ struggles continue, they could join the Philadelphia Phillies as sellers at the trade deadline at the end of July.
The Marlins will attempt to begin their turnaround during a three-game series against the scuffling Phillies, and they’ll try to snap a season-high home losing streak Tuesday night with a red-hot Henderson Alvarez on the mound.
Miami (39-43) was a half-game back in the NL East on June 17 but dropped to five behind Atlanta after its ninth loss in 12 games and fourth in a row Sunday, 4-3 to Oakland.
The Marlins were an MLB-best 20-7 at home May 24 but are 5-14 since then. Their five-game losing streak in Miami is their longest since a season-high, six-game skid May 1-18, 2013.
Miami is batting .218 and averaging 3.1 runs in the last 12 overall contests after hitting .259 and scoring 4.5 runs per game in the first 70.
“We’re playing hard, man,” catcher Jeff Mathis said. “We’re right there. We’re in all these ballgames, and even though we’re coming up on the short end, we’re battling and we’re going to keep doing that.”
The Phillies (36-46) have also lost four in a row and eight of 10 since a 5-0 start to their previous road trip, a seven-gamer. In the opener to a 10-game trek, they’ll try to revive an offense that’s slumping again.
Philadelphia is batting .226 and averaging 2.6 runs in the last 10 games. It’s also hitting .127 with runners in scoring position and went 0 for 16 in the final two losses of a four-game home sweep to Atlanta this weekend.
“The time has been now for two or three weeks,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We had a good stretch there. We had a winning streak, and we weren’t able to come home and continue. But that’s what we need now, to go on the road after an off day, where we’ve played well, and hopefully pick it up and have a road trip like we did the last.”
Sandberg’s club has lost four of six to Miami after winning the first four matchups. The Phillies split four games against the visiting Marlins last week, and Alvarez (5-3, 2.32 ERA) outdueled A.J. Burnett (5-7, 3.89) in the third contest Wednesday.
Alvarez allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings and Burnett gave up three over seven while striking out eight. The Marlins right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last seven starts and 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in his past two against Philadelphia.
“He’s pitching with confidence and he’s starting to understand what he can do and how good he can be,” manager Mike Redmond said.
Burnett is 2-2 with a 2.59 ERA in his last four outings and has received a combined two runs of support in the losses. He’s 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA in five starts against his former club but 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three this season.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)