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Phillies meet Marlins in Miami for forced play date

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The Marlins are poised for a breakout season in 2015 and Jose Fernandez has been cleared to start his throwing program. In the mean time, though, they've got to show up at these forced play dates with their neighbors' kids, the Phillies.

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

WHO IS READY FOR SOME MIDWEEK, SOUTH FLORIDA, STRETCH RUN BASEBALL?!

/Phanatic looks up from newspaper, shrugs, goes back to reading

AWWW YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH

Jarred Cosart knows what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, the Marlins are so excited about tonight's series opener that they are SEALING THE EXITS. THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE.

Heavy Hitters

Christian Yelich

It turns out to get respect in MLB, the key components are being young and awesome. Who knew? Also where do I sign up?

Ha ha ha, we're having some fun here. But there's nothing funny about what Christian Yelich has done to baseballs recently. He had a 16-game hit streak going as recently as September 18, and his defense in left has saved the Marlins 13 runs this season. He's hitting .289, he's slugging .410, he's stolen 21 bases, and he's 22 god damn years old.

Adeiny Hechavarria

Where are we, though? On the MLB sign-ups? For me? Okay, sort it out, I've got to finish thing anyway.

So yeah, these young Marlins players are just messed up to watch out there.  Take Hechavarria for instance; he tracks Texas Leaguers like a charmed cobra:

#BASEBALLHIGHLIGHTS

He also put himself in a small company of players, historically, by improving his BA from 2013 by 47 points in 2014. The last thing I increased by 47 points is my driver's license, and I'll bet Hechvarria isn't being sought for questions related to a vehicular manslaughter.

Casey McGehee

Let's salute McGehee, who on this Marlins roster of spastic young sparkplugs is the 31-year-old, 4-5 season veteran having a great season that will ultimately be forgotten. McGehee is hitting .288/.358/.359 for a roster that won't make the playoffs, but he did his part to keep them in the conversation.

He won the Marlins' Wilson Valdez Award, entering elite company (Cal Ripken, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski) himself this season, grounding into 30 double plays - the 18th player to do so since McKinley's second term.

Probable Starters

Cole Hamels vs. Henderson Alvarez

Hamels would have to do a lot wrong to ruin one of the finest seasons in his career. Should he give up the 20 runs necessary to soil his 1.86 ERA in his last 21 starts, he may disappear and be discovered living inside the Marlins Park home run statue a decade from now, his face covered in graying peach fuzz, a lost look in his eye.

29 strikeouts away from his career high, Hamels may not get there vs. the Marlins and Braves, but he is unarguably in the Cy Young conversation, if you take out Clayton Kershaw, the guy who will win it. And all Hamels had to do to achieve success, apparently, was skip the first month of the season.

Alvarez was coming off a DL stint in his last start against the Phillies, and they took advantage of that by scoring one run in seven innings. Alvarez moved onto New York in his next start, giving the Mets eight hits and two runs through six innings. In 13 starts at Marlins Park this season, he's thrown 82.1 innings and amassed a 1.75 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 15 BB, and 51 SO. That, combined with the Phillies, whom he's given seven runs through 33.2 IP this year, might give him an advantage.

Kyle Kendrick vs. Brad Hand

So, Wednesday, September 24, will be Kyle Kendrick's Last Start as a Phillie Day as the clock tower will strike twelve and he will dematerialize on the spot, disappearing from all photographs and videos in which he at one time appeared, and no one will remember his name. I honestly don't care what happens during the baseball game.

Hand might. Hand is pretty bad himself, something he showed in his last start against the Nats, when he barely made it, gasping, through five innings, earning runs all the way. That ERA's sitting at a balmy 4.59 after a fairly unreliable season:

  • April: 6.28
  • July: 2.52
  • August: 6.17
Of course, last time against the Phillies, he allowed two runs in six innings. Thanks to Hand's lack of exposure/many of the Phillies being called-up rookies or mysterious drifters at the moment, the guy with the most experience against hand is Chase Utley, who is 2-for-6 against him lifetime.

David Buchanan vs. Tom Koehler

We're back on the three-runs-or-less train with old Buchy, a name that hasn't been given to him and probably wouldn't, since the pronunciation would make it rhyme with "pukey." Against the Marlins this year, he has thrown 11.1 innings in two starts, allowing only - gasp - three runs and 11 hits.

It's been 15 starts since he's seen a crooked number higher that "3" in his ER column, something that makes him a source of hope in a season of morose shrugging. Let's heap all of our expectations upon him! Heap them, everyone! Heap!

David Buchanan: Please stop, there's... there's so many. I'm suffocahrrmrmrmrmfffffffffff

Everyone: HEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPP

This will be Koehler's last start of the season (as is the case with a lot of these guys, probably). He's got big offseason plans.

I kind of want to hang out with Tom Koehler.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.