If the Marlins want a good shot at rebounding from the loss on Wednesday, right-hander Josh Johnson will have to do something he hasn't done all season: Win.
While the Marlins have used the best May start in their history to help start to turn around a disappointing April, Johnson's woes have continued.
Johnson (0-3, 6.61 ERA) is coming off the shortest start of his career his last time out against the Padres, lasting only 2 2/3 innings, while allowing six runs on six hits and walking three. Afterward, manager Ozzie Guillen wondered aloud if Johnson is fully healthy, noting a lack of command, but the righty said he's fine.
"Physically, I feel good," he said. "When you throw the ball in the middle of the plate, it's going to get hit. If you look at all of them, right down the middle."
Johnson, who hasn't won since April 19 of last year after missing most of the season with right shoulder inflammation, has never beaten the Astros, going 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in four games (three starts) against them.
Wednesday's game at Minute Maid Park isn't only the series finale, but also the final meeting of the season between the Marlins and Astros. With Houston going to the American League next year, the two teams might not meet again for several seasons.
"It's kind of weird," third baseman Chris Johnson said. "I haven't thought about it too much. But this is the start of it. It's kind of cool because I'm excited about playing different teams and different travels and things like that."
Marlins: Bonifacio on the bases
Emilio Bonifacio stole second base in the first inning Tuesday to improve to 15-for-15 in stolen-base attempts this season, tying him with Chuck Carr for the most successful start to a season in franchise history.
Astros: Harrell on the hill
Right-hander Lucas Harrell (2-2, 4.76) takes the mound for Houston on Wednesday, coming off a victory in his last outing against the reigning World Series champion Cardinals in which he allowed four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Harrell has faced the Marlins only once in his career, earlier this season on April 13, and didn't factor into the decision after allowing four runs in four innings.
Hanley Ramirez's .385 career average against Houston is the best in the Majors.