MIAMI (AP) – While the underachieving Miami Marlins shed salary prior to the trade deadline, the San Diego Padres stood pat believing there’s still time to salvage their disappointing season.
The visiting Padres look to win for a seventh time in eight games Saturday night against the reeling Marlins.
Both teams faced lofty expectations, but Miami (42-61) opened the season 3-11 and ended July by dropping 15 of its last 22. It’s batted .186 and totaled 13 runs while losing six of the last seven.
With an eye toward the future, the Marlins dealt veterans Steve Cishek, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Dan Haren and young reliever Sam Dyson in recent days.
“There’s a lot of reason for optimism and belief that this is a playoff, championship-caliber team,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “But we’re not there and we have to keep working until we get there.”
San Diego (50-53) is eight games back in the NL West and 6 1/2 out of the final wild-card spot, but isn’t ready to write off the season after opting not to deal any veterans as was speculated. Instead, the Padres added depth to their bullpen with Friday’s acquisition of Marc Rzepczynski from Cleveland.
“We like this team, and we believe with (59) games to go that we can make a great run,” optimistic Padres president and CEO Mike Dee said. “There was no mandate from ownership to slash payroll or save money. It was really about what it should be; baseball decisions and smart baseball decisions.”
Previously rumored trade target Ian Kennedy allowed two runs over seven innings and the Padres scored five times in the 11th after blowing a one-run lead in the ninth to win their third in a row, 8-3 on Friday. Will Venable, also mentioned in trade talks, and Jedd Gyorko each had three hits for San Diego, which is 11-4 since losing a season-high six in a row.
“We’re built to last now that the trade deadline is over,” Gyorko said.
Trying for a fifth straight victory over the Marlins, the Padres hand the ball to Odrisamer Despaigne (4-7, 4.88 ERA), who allowed one run and two hits in six innings of a 3-2 win over them Sunday.
“If you pitch well, everyone seems to feed off of that and play well,” he said. “If you don’t pitch well, the rest of the team seems to follow suit. It’s all contagious.”
That’s been the case of late on the road, where the right-hander has posted a 2.70 ERA without a decision in his last two starts after going 1-3 with a 6.07 ERA in his first five.
Christian Yelich went 0 for 3 against Despaigne in that contest but is batting .353 (6 for 17) with a homer he hit Friday and three RBIs in four games since.
Miami right-hander Jose Urena (1-4, 4.04) was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to make his eighth career start and first since June 28. The right-hander yielded one run, four hits and walked four in five innings of a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He’ll try to cool off Venable, 5 for 11 in his last two games, and Gyorko, who is 7 for 12 in the last three.
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