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MIA@CIN: Zambrano fans six in his Marlins debut

Pitchers' wins and losses are so unpredictable and often completely unrepresentative of a hurler's performance, and one need look no further for an example than Marlins right-hander Carlos Zambrano and D-backs lefty Joe Saunders as they enter Friday night's game at Marlins Park.

Zambrano has pitched well in three starts, putting up a 2.84 ERA with 16 strikeouts to eight walks, but he's still seeking his first win. He'll give it another shot against Arizona and Saunders, whose 1-1 record also isn't a good indicator of his strong performance this season.

"This is a long season," Zambrano said. "I've been in this situation before. One time with the Cubs, [I] didn't win any games in [the] first month, and ended up winning 16. But you can't look down. You have to keep your head up. There's 30 or 31 more starts to go."

Zambrano was excellent in his last start, on Friday against the Nationals, giving up one run on two hits and a homer while striking out six and walking none. He felt good about his split-finger fastball, slider, cutter and sinker. But he still suffered the loss, as Washington shut out Miami.

"Carlos pitched very well," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I love the way he threw. He did everything he could to win the game. We couldn't get the big hit."

The same was unfortunately true for Saunders in his last outing, as he suffered a hard-luck loss Saturday against the Braves. The lefty allowed two earned runs on six hits over seven strong innings but took the loss anyway.

"I felt good," Saunders said after that game. "Especially the way things are going right now, you try to go out there and throw up as many zeros as you can. Unfortunately, came up one run short."

In 21 innings this season, Saunders has allowed only three earned runs on 16 hits and five walks while striking out 14, yet he owns a 1-1 record.

D-backs: Bullpen struggling in big spots
• Arizona's 4.19 bullpen ERA so far this season is among baseball's worst, and the relief corps has struggled even more in key situations, which manager Kirk Gibson partially took responsibility for Wednesday.

"If you look at the games we've lost, we've given up big hits. How can I put guys in better positions to succeed? There's a lot that goes into it," Gibson said. "What's the composition of your staff? We're trying to be better at that. We haven't been able to hold them down."

• Injuries will keep Chris Young and Daniel Hudson from traveling with the D-backs on their 10-game road trip.

Marlins: Guillen not ready to drop Reyes
• Shortstop Jose Reyes has been struggling at the plate lately, but don't expect Guillen to replace him atop the order anytime soon. Guillen could opt for Emilio Bonifacio in that spot, but he plans to let Reyes work his way through his problems for a few more days.

"Right now, I think it's too early," Guillen said. "If I do that right now, it's kind of pushing the panic button. This guy is a premier hitter. He will come out and hit the ball good. I'm not panicking. He's going to be my guy."

• Marlins President David Samson will run 50 miles Friday to raise funds in honor of the construction workers who helped build Marlins Park. The run will start in Pompano Beach, Fla., and conclude at home plate in Marlins Park prior to Friday's game. Every five miles will be dedicated to a different charity.

Worth noting
• The D-backs went 5-2 against the Marlins last season and are 57-44 all time. The Marlins, however, hold a slight 26-25 advantage against the D-backs at home.

• Zambrano is happy to be back in Miami. "It's good to be home," he said. "I think we have the crowd in our favor. Still, we need to play good at home and on the road. This team is capable of doing many good things. I know this team will turn around their hitting, and be the team that everybody is expecting." Comments