The loss of Josh Johnson clearly stung the Marlins as a team. But manager Jack McKeon said he also believes the injured pitcher's absence from the rotation since mid-May has had an adverse effect on two of his teammates: fellow starters Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez.



"When J.J. went down, it looks like they went down with him instead of rising up," McKeon said.

Nolasco owned a 4-0 record and a 3.04 ERA on May 24. Since then, he has gone 5-10 with a 5.18 ERA. Sanchez was 6-1 with a 2.82 ERA at the end of June. Since then, he has gone 1-6 with a 5.45 ERA.

"A lot of times you've got that No.?1 guy, and he's setting the tempo for the rest of the staff, and they all want to keep pace with him, and it gives them a little incentive," McKeon said. "It's like a friendly competition between those pitchers. We started the season thinking we had three pretty good ones, and then the main guy that provided that competition went down."