Latest News

Pitching trouble continues to mount as Miami Marlins fall to Atlanta Braves

Even though Josh Johnson has been eye-balled by suitors for weeks, manager Ozzie Guillen felt relatively confident Monday his ace would still be in a Marlins uniform after the trade deadline comes and goes at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“I don’t think they they’re going to say, ‘Take J.J. and give us your broken bats and [batting practice] balls,’’ Guillen said of the Marlins front office. “It will have to be a deal to help us — not with Single A, Double A — but as soon as they can.’’

Odds are unless a rival general manager slips and falls on his head or goes into panic mode, whatever the Marlins get in return for Johnson — assuming he’s shipped off — won’t be enough to plug all the holes in this season’s sinking ship.

If anything, Monday’s 8-2 loss to the Braves in front of 22,624 at Turner Field provided further evidence why the Marlins probably should keep the two-time All-Star and Opening Day starter.

While one starting pitcher — Carlos Zambrano — was yanked out of the rotation and put into the bullpen earlier in the day, another — Mark Buehrle -- continued his recent tailspin, giving up six earned runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings.

Buehrle also gave up four walks for the second start in a row — the second time in his career he has given up four free passes in consecutive starts. It’s also the first time he has failed to pitch at least five innings since last Sept. 4, a string of 24 consecutive starts.

Since picking up his ninth win on July 14, Buehrle has given up 13 earned runs over his last three starts (14 1/3 innings).

“I’m not getting ahead in the count, falling behind a lot, and the changeup is not working right now,” Buehrle said.

Said Guillen: “He’s nibbling too much.”

Zambrano, brought in to try to clean Buehrle’s mess after Dan Uggla’s RBI double made it 4-1, didn’t do much better. After he struck out Paul Janish and got to within a strike of a third out, Juan Francisco laced a two-run single to left. The Braves then tacked on another unearned run off Zambrano in the sixth on Freddie Freeman’s two-out RBI single to center.

Zambrano’s first relief appearance since Aug. 4, 2010, with the Cubs netted this line: two hits, one run, three strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.

Braves starter Tommy Hanson, meanwhile, danced out of trouble just enough in his five innings of work to beat the Marlins for the second time in less than a week. Facing a lineup that featured three players hitting under .200 — Donnie Murphy (.140), Bryan Petersen (.186) and Scott Cousins (.173) — and another player barely above it — catcher Brett Hayes (.208) — Hanson scattered six hits and three walks and gave up just one earned run.

Jose Reyes, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games, delivered that run for the Marlins with a bloop double down the left-field line that cut the Braves’ lead to 2-1 with two outs in the fifth. But whatever momentum the Marlins (47-55) had was quickly wiped out moments later when Carlos Lee singled to left and Martin Prado delivered a perfect throw to the plate to nail Reyes.

The victory was the first for the Braves (58-44) this season on a Monday. Atlanta was 0-12 on Mondays this season coming in.

The Marlins stole two bases — five fewer than they did the last time they faced Hanson and finished 3 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 10 runners.

Carlos Lee finished with three hits. Reyes had two doubles, a stolen base and an error.

“That be our script,” Guillen said. “You see the same thing day in and day out, lot of strikeouts, lot of men on base, a lot of bad at-bats with people on base — too many.

“I don’t know if this is a heads-up for some people out there. They better start putting it together because the doors will be open pretty quick. I never do that since I’m manager. I try to keep players.

“But when I see games like that day in day out and I start thinking how the hell are those guys still in the big leagues ... maybe they feel a little bit comfortable being here.”

Related stories from Miami Herald