The Phillies: Yeah, all right, so we all got pretty juiced up over the Phillis stealing a series for the Mets, but we forgot that it was Jacob deGrom starting game three and, well. That all sucked. So the Phillies started part two of 2016 with a boring old series loss, and get to play the team battling the Mets for second place in the NL East for four games.
The Marlins: Bob Nightengale said this morning that the 49-42 Marlins are "no longer circus clowns" in regards to the rest of the league. So if the Phillies' game plan today revolved around combating a bunch of heavily-painted men frolicking about in the outfield, they can just go ahead and throw that notebook out.
Giancarlo Stanton: The second half is three games old, and Stanton, Adeiny Hechavarria, Christian Yelich, and Ichiro all have four hits already. Stanton's name is seen here because three of this are doubles. Can't wait to be facing an electrified-back-to-life Giancarlo Stanton for the next four days. He hasn't even hit a home run yet; but there's a reason each double he's struck is backed by the sound of missiles priming.
Christian Yelich: Yeah, he's good too. Four hits in his last 11 AB. Two walks. Three RBI. But who even cares. Stanton, man. Maybe I should just buy a Marlins hat.
Ichiro: If he goes nuclear, Ichiro's going to get his 3,000th hit in Philadelphia, and become the greatest Philadelphia Sports Legend Who Ever Live.
Carlos Ruiz: Chooch is 2-for-3 with a double! Is this the #SummerOfChooch? Starting now, I mean? That would be great.
Ryan Howard: Only one man on either of these rosters has struck a dinger since the second half opened, an his name is Ryan Howard. And this after playing in two consecutive baseball games? Who IS this mystery man?
Zach Eflin & Jerad Eickhoff: If we're keeping things limited to the post-All-Star realm, than these two are two of the team's two most potent offensive contributors. And they will not be pitching in this series.
Jose Fernandez vs. Aaron Nola, 7:05 p.m.
Oh COME ON; the Phillies push Nola's first start of the second half back far enough that he can get the most amount of rest possible, and then the first game they drop him into he has to face Jose Fernandez, the grinning Marlins ace who Liz, John, and I couldn't stop gushing over on a PHILLIES podcast.
Whatever. Here's hoping Nola got the time he needed to survive the last part of the season, after posting a 4.69 ERA, 9.9 SO/9 and 4.61 SO/W from April-mid July. At one point there was talk of him being the Phillies' sole All-Star representative, so you know when he does figure something out, it can work.
TBA vs. Vince Velasquez, 7:05 p.m.
Let's hope this plan holds so that Velasquez can go out there and pitch against literally no one. VV hasn't pitched since before the All-Star break, but when he did, he was throwing a 3.32 ERA and 10.9 SO/9. Things may have stabilized for the 24-year-old, who, last time he faced Miami, didn't allow them to score (though he only lasted five innings and threw over 100 pitches).
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Jeremy Hellickson, 7:05 p.m.
This isn't a baseball game at all. It's a scouting mission.
Tom Koehler vs. Jerad Eickhoff, 7:05 p.m.
All four of these games are at 7:05. Is that incredible? I don't think it is, but apparently I did think it was worth mentioning.
Koehler's a real Hellickson-type, with his 4.68 ERA and 79 SO to 52 BB. What are the odds Phillies hitters pick up on the fact that they should NOT be first-pitch hacking when they get up there? They've gotta be low. "Every time I execute a pitch, it seems like it's getting hit; when I don't, it seems like it's REALLY getting hit," Koehler said in a recent interview about how poorly things have gone for him of late. All right, Phillies; maybe everyone SHOULD just go up there and flail.
Eickhoff was the author of the Phillies' win against the Mets, allowing two runs in six innings. Ignore, if you will, that start in Colorado in which things unraveled, and my dude is making history.
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