In his second start of 2011, the Marlins right-hander saw the Astros -- the same team he faces in Sunday's series finale -- and got roughed up, allowing six runs on a career-high 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings. That outing was especially odd, considering Sanchez is unbeaten with an 0.70 ERA in his other four starts against Houston.
Another thing in Sanchez's favor this time around is that last year's game was at Minute Maid Park, while this year's is in Miami's spacious new park. Sanchez, who has spent his entire Major League career with the Marlins, said he's approaching his first start in Marlins Park just like any other.
"It's going to be a normal day just like going to another team's stadium," Sanchez said. "So far I haven't pitched here, and I don't know what it will feel like. But I don't feel any pressure or anything like that because it's in the new ballpark. I feel like you need to take the mound the same in any stadium."
Astros left-hander J.A. Happ takes the mound against Miami, a team he has kept off balance throughout his career. Current Marlins have combined to hit only .200 against him, with Emilio Bonifacio (.364) the only Marlin with more than nine plate appearances against Happ hitting higher than .222 against him.
Astros: Going backward
After beginning the season with a 1.71 ERA and four quality starts through their first four games, Astros starters have posted an 8.50 ERA and no quality starts in their past four.
J.D. Martinez (.379) is the only Astro to hit safely in all eight games this season.
Marlins: Offense likes Houston
Although Marlins hitters as a whole have struggled against Happ, they have combined to hit Houston pitching quite well over the years, with a .293 average against the Astros. Bonifacio leads the way with a .457 average (16-for-35), while Hanley Ramirez (.377) and Jose Reyes (.305) are each hitting above .300.
The Astros have dropped seven of their past nine games against the Marlins.
Houston's Carlos Lee has only one hit in 11 career at-bats against Sanchez.