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MIA@NYM: Marcum fans seven in eight frames of relief

Two pitchers looking to find their footing this season will face off at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night, when the Mets and White Sox finish a two-game set.

Shaun Marcum will start for visiting New York, which is 5-4 on its 11-game road trip after Tuesday's 5-4 walk-off loss. The White Sox, who have lost eight of 12, will counter with John Danks.

The veteran hurlers have combined for one victory this season.

Marcum (0-9, 5.76 ERA) has the most starts (nine) of any winless pitcher this season. The right-hander has made only two quality starts and appeared to be in danger of losing his rotation spot when the Mets called up top prospect Zack Wheeler, but New York put Jon Niese on the disabled list on Friday.

Marcum went 42-26 with a 3.57 ERA in 110 starts over his past four seasons, but he has yet to get it going in his first year with the Mets. On Wednesday, he gave up five runs on six hits and a season-high four walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Braves.

"It seems like every mistake's getting hit," Marcum said afterward. "Unfortunately, it's been a 2 1/2-month ordeal for me so far."

Danks (1-4, 5.40) has made only six starts since returning from a season-long DL stint on May 24. The lefty endured the toughest of those on Thursday at Minnesota, giving up six runs on 12 hits in five innings. He surrendered a career-high four home runs.

"You just have to tip your hat to them hitting pitches that you're supposed to hit," Danks said. "I just felt like the few times I was able to get ahead, I wasn't able to put them away. I didn't have maybe what I needed to put them away, but nonetheless, there's no reason for me to throw the ball where I did. ... I gave a few guys some cookies, and they did what they were supposed to do."

Mets: Matchups holding back Davis
An upcoming schedule flush with opposing left-handed starters is helping to keep first baseman Ike Davis at Triple-A Las Vegas for now. The Mets are facing consecutive lefties against the White Sox and are set up to deal with four more against the Nationals and and D-backs in the next week.

Davis was sent to Triple-A after hitting .161 through June 9. He might have come back when Lucas Duda went on the disabled list this past weekend, but the left-handed hitter might have to wait until July 3, when the matchups improve.

Davis has turned things around in the hitter-friendly conditions of the Pacific Coast League, earning the league's Player of the Week honors last week by hitting .474 with four home runs.

White Sox: Ventura holding firm with lineup
Manager Robin Ventura's club has been going through a tough stretch and ranks near the bottom of the league in scoring. Yet he has shown patience with his set lineup, resisting any pressure to do a lot of tinkering.

Ventura doesn't believe the lack of changes will make his players too comfortable.

"I think there's always competition and doubt that somebody else can always take your job," he said. "Sometimes it's easier during the season to let guys kind of work out of their, if it's a slump or going through something that's tough. You have to have the patience to let them do that. If you're doing it on a day-by-day basis, I think it would probably work out worse than to let somebody work out of something if you make it a couple weeks."

Worth noting
• Marcum has a 2.35 ERA in three career starts at U.S. Cellular Field, the last coming in 2010 with the Blue Jays.

• Danks has never faced the Mets, who have three hitters with experience against him: Marlon Byrd (3-for-18), John Buck (2-for-11) and Omar Quintanilla (1-for-5). Comments