Having lost 15 of their past 17 games and falling to 3-23 in June, the Marlins are looking for any way to stop their downward trend. Their slide only amplifies the loss of ace Josh Johnson, who Marlins president Larry Beinfest admitted would help, but whose arm, on its own, wouldn't be enough.
"We definitely do miss that, because you know every fifth day when he's going out there what he's able to do," said Beinfest. "But that's not the problem here. We would like to have him, and hopefully we would have had some of that benefit. We found ways to lose basically. We need to find ways to win."
On Wednesday, Jack McKeon will hand the ball to Ricky Nolasco to relieve the sting of yet another low-scoring loss. Nolasco's (4-4, 4.44 ERA) recent stretch has mirrored the club's overall woes. The right-hander is 0-4 in his last six outings, turning in just two quality starts among them.
The A's, meanwhile, will rely on some inside information in hopes of sending Nolasco to his fifth consecutive defeat. Josh Willingham, who played with Nolasco in Florida from 2006-08, is dishing out his own scouting reports.
"I'll tell them what Ricky likes to do and what his pitches are," said Willingham, who is on the disabled list. "They're going to have all the video they need on him, but I'll give them a little insight on his tendencies and what he likes to do. But other than that, they'll have all the information they need."
The A's may need all the help they can get, as they are hitting just over .200 as a team in Interleague Play this season.
Squaring off against Nolasco will be Guillermo Moscoso, not Graham Godfrey as originally planned, after Oakland manager Bob Melvin decided to shuffle his rotation and send Godfrey to the bullpen.
Moscoso took a tough-luck no-decision his last time out, blanking the Phillies over seven innings and allowing two hits. The right-hander has allowed only two unearned runs over his past 11 2/3 innings.
Marlins: Managerial switch agrees with Hanley
Hanley Ramirez is enduring the slowest first half of his career, but the shortstop appears to be turning a corner. Could McKeon's return to the bench be a reason for Ramirez's recent surge? Ramirez has hit safely in five of the six games since June 20 -- McKeon's first game back -- and is hitting .333 (8-for-24) over that span.
"He's playing like crazy," McKeon said of his shortstop. "I've watched a lot of games, and he's playing the best he's played all year. I'm happy for him. He's happy. Hopefully, he turns his season around and has a good year. If he does, we're going to be in good shape."
Athletics: Power outage
The home run is a necessary element to a club's offense in today's game, but the A's are suffering through a low point in power. Oakland is on pace to hit the fewest home runs in the franchise's modern history. The A's 41 home runs are the fewest in all of baseball, putting them on pace to hit just 85. That number would fall short of the 1968 A's, who hit 94 home runs. The lack of power coincides with the club's AL-worst .234 batting average.
The Marlins have scored a first-inning run 30 times this season -- the highest rate in all of baseball. That figure surpasses the Yankees and Blue Jays, who have plated a first-inning run 29 and 27 times, respectively.