The season is still in its first half, but it's becoming more and more plausible that the Florida Marlins, universally picked to languish deep in the NL East standings, could be a legitimate playoff contender. The Fish evened their 2008 record against the division-leading Phillies with a 5-4 win last night, powered by three home runs and strong pitching from starter Ricky Nolasco and closer Kevin Gregg. Florida's previous win over the Phils this season came on May 31, when the Marlins roughed up ace Cole Hamels in Philadelphia; they'll go after Hamels again tonight in the second of this three-game set.
Andrew Miller, a key piece in last winter's blockbuster trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers, takes the hill for the Marlins. Miller, who took a no-decision against the Phillies on June 1, is just 4-5 with a 4.65 ERA this season--though he's easily outpitched fellow southpaw Willis, whom the Tigers demoted all the way down to A-ball earlier this week. The Phillies will need to be patient against him: Miller has allowed 79 walks in 138 career innings in the big leagues.