Mark Buehrle takes the mound for Miami when it tries to avoid a second straight loss to the host Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night. A new ballpark, a name change and multiple new players haven't provided immediate satisfaction for the Marlins (2-4), especially after new manager Ozzie Guillen's controversial remarks regarding Cuban dictator Fidel Castro landed him in hot water with the local community. Guillen began serving a five-game suspension Wednesday during Miami's 7-1 loss to the Phillies. He apologized to his players prior to the game for causing a distraction.
Buehrle played under Guillen for the last eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox before following his skipper to Miami in the offseason, and he'll look for another solid outing but a different result in his second start with the Marlins. Buehrle made three interleague starts against Philadelphia while pitching for Chicago, winning each despite a 5.06 ERA. He'll face a Phillies offense that seems to be getting untracked despite still missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Philadelphia (2-3) totaled eight runs in its first four games, but it used a five-run third inning Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak. Carlos Ruiz homered and every starter except pitcher Roy Halladay had at least one hit. Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 with an RBI and said the Phillies can't let up after the breakout performance. Joe Blanton hopes for similar run support in his first start of 2012.
Blanton missed most of last season with elbow problems and finished 1-2 with a 5.01 ERA in 11 appearances, including eight starts. He came on in relief Saturday, recording two outs before allowing the winning run in the 10th inning of a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh. The right-hander would seem to have a good chance for a solid outing in his return to the rotation, as he's 6-2 with a 4.33 ERA in nine career starts against the Marlins.
The price here seems a tad expensive, but with virtually light winds and fair skies under the lights at Citizens Bank Ballpark, both offenses should at least make some sort of statement against pitchers looking to set their strides early in the young season. Best of luck however you play!