Florida's Josh Johnson, who seems to regularly flirt with no-hitters, faces Ubaldo Jimenez, who has actually pitched one.
As series rubber games go, this one could rub out a lot of batting averages.
In his most recent start, Johnson held the Pirates hitless into the fifth inning, but that didn't even qualify as one of his close-calls.
In the start prior to that, the righty no-hit Atlanta for 7 1/3 innings, until a double by Freddie Freeman. Two starts prior to that, he he held the Mets hitless until a leadoff double in the seventh by Willie Harris.
And on Aug. 14, 2009, Johnson had another bid ruined with two outs in the seventh -- by Colorado's Garret Atkins at Sun Life Stadium.
Bottom-line, Johnson has allowed a total of three hits in the 14 1/3 innings of his last two starts, while racking up 18 strikeouts.
He would appear to cast a considerable shadow now over Jimenez, but the Rockies' sensation of 2010 will be making only his second start since spending time on the disabled list with a cuticle problem. Jimenez will be remembered for triggering the 2010 no-hit parade with his April 17 gem against the Braves in Atlanta.
This has already been a pitching-dominated series, led off by Anibal Sanchez's no-hit bid on Friday, broken up on a broken-bat single by Dexter Fowler to lead off the ninth. The two teams have combined for 23 hits in the two games, and do not figure to bust out on Sunday.
The Rockies are tasked with solving a pitcher against whom right-handed hitters have gotten a measly three hits all season in 35 at-bats, for an average of .086. And the three left-handed hitters in the Rockies' lineup (Todd Helton, Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith) are a collective 2-for-17 off Johnson.
Jimenez has historically had a more difficult time against the Marlins, who have hit him at a .310 pace. But Hanley Ramirez, who will try to escape a 2-for-23 slump that has pushed his average below .200 (.194), is 1-for-6 against Jimenez.Rockies: Firemen putting out those fires
The Rockies' bullpen remained rock-solid with 2 1/3 perfect innings on Saturday. Colorado relievers have allowed two runs in their last 22 21/3 innings. At 14-6 with six games to go, the Rockies have clinched their first winning April since 2006 (15-10). Marlins: Big turnout Saturday night
Saturday's crowd of 37,381 was the Marlins' largest since Opening Day (41,237). The Marlins held their annual University of Miami Day at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday. Alas, their own Gaby Sanchez, one of nine Miami products in the Majors, went 0-for-4. Worth noting
Following Saturday night's game, El Gran Combo, a Puerto Rican salsa band, performed at Sun Life Stadium -- a very nostalgic concert for Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, who reminisced about the band having played at his high school during his senior year in 1978.