For 40 games this season it felt like the Marlins were living a charmed life -- 13 come-from-behind wins, 12 one-run wins and a 24-16, franchise-best matching start.
After back-to-back losses at home against the lowly Cubs (to starting pitchers with ERAs well above 7.00), the charm may be wearing off a bit. The Marlins stranded 22 runners in the series and were 1-for-9 Thursday with runners in scoring position, a continuing trend that wasn't a problem early on this season. The Marlins, who came in hitting .266 with runners in scoring position (Ninth best in the majors), have gone 9-for-54 with RISP since leaving for Washington last week (.166).
So is another potential shake up to the lineup in store? "At this point I have to sit down and think about that one," Rodriguez said after Thursday's loss. "The best three hitters are in the middle of the order. [Emilio] Bonifacio might be leading off but where are we going to play Boni? It's a matter of [Chris] Coghlan and Hanley [Ramirez] swinging the bat better. If we want to win those two guys have to start swinging the bat better."
Thursday, Ramirez picked up two hits, his second straight game with two base knocks. Coghlan finished 0-for-5. Since taking himself out of the lineup April 27 against the Dodgers with a shoulder injury, Coghlan has gone just 13 for his last 77, dropping his average all the way down to .238.
VOLSTAD IS HEALTHY: For those of you wondering why Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad was taken out after just five innings and 71 pitches Thursday, Rodriguez was simply his way of trying to find some offense.
"At that point we had only one or two hits," Rodriguez said. "It was a tough call for me. He was throwing the ball good, keeping us in the game. But we were looking for offense."
Scott Cousins, who went in to pinch hit for Volstad to open the bottom of the fifth, struck out. He's now hitting .167 on the season.
Volstad, who gave up just four hits and three earned runs, said he felt pretty good Thursday, maybe his best all year.
"It's just the way the National League is, circumstances," said Volstad, who fell to 2-3 with a 5.73 ERA in eight starts.
"I don't want to come out after throwing 120. It's no different. I want to stay in the game as long as I can. That's the way it goes. We have to get something going. The pitcher isn't the one who usually does that at the plate."
Still, Volstad said, he wouldn't have minded going a few more. "I felt great actually, as good as I've felt," he said. "The one pitch to [Marlon] Byrd, he hit out. Other than that, I had nine ground balls, five strikeouts. I think my strike outs are getting up there. I'm in the zone, not falling behind too many guys. Definitely in the right direction. One pitch here or there. Same start last start. One pitch to [Roger] Bernadina. I'm feeling really good. Bottomline is that."