It was nice to beat the defending champions in their own house. Those were the types of games that give you hope that maybe the 2019 Phillies can be a playoff team after all. But this being the Phillies, at least half the fan base is fully expecting for the Phillies to follow up by losing a series to the Marlins.
Record: 45-81, Fifth place in the National League East
The last time they met
The Phillies snapped a five(!) game losing streak against the Marlins by salvaging the finale of their series in late June.
Deciding the division
If the Phillies do fall short of the playoffs, they will surely lament not winning more games against the Marlins. The Braves are 14-4 versus the Fish, while the Nationals are 10-3, and the Mets are 11-4. The Phillies started off similarly well, but have gone just 1-5 over the last two series.
Is there any optimism?
Sometimes when a team undergoes a rebuilding process, they’ll have some promising young pieces emerge to give the fans hope that the future will be brighter. Although this is the Marlins, so their fans should really know better. The best case scenario is that the team will make a fluky one-year run to the World Series before management trades away their good players to save money.
Thus far in the process, not too many future superstars have made their presence known. Sandy Alcantara made the All-Star team, although that was more of a token “everyone gets a representative” selection. And Brian Anderson looks like he could be a viable major leaguer. But if the next Christian Yelich resides on the Marlins’ roster, he’s yet to have his breakout.
Speaking of Yelich, part of the problem is that the Marlins didn’t seem to fetch enough in return when trading away him and the team’s other stars.
Of the Marlins top 10 prospects (according to yesterday's piece in the Athletic) only 3 of them were acquired while trading away Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, and Stanton. It's hard to respect an organization that traded away 2 MVP's and 2 All-Stars and got only one elite prospect.— Andrew Brenner (@dte421) August 15, 2019
Speaking of the players they received for Yelich, let’s take a look at outfielder Lewis Brinson. In 2017, the Marlins called up the highly-rated prospect to the majors, and watched him bat .106 in 21 games. The following year, he was given the center field job and boosted his average to a lofty .199.
In his third year, the arrow isn’t pointing up. His average has dropped to .182, and all of his 146 plate appearances have ended without him hitting a home run.
How does an OF with regular playing time not have a HR in the juiced ball era?— TripleShy (@BB_Ben29) August 15, 2019
Yea, Lewis Brinson...I’m talking to you
I suppose it could be worse for the Marlins. Thanks to Cody Bellinger’s outstanding season, there’s a decent chance that Yelich won’t win his second consecutive MVP award this season. (I mean, he’s only ninth in the NL in RBIs!)
Catching up with Jorge
It wasn’t that long ago that Phillies fans were lamenting the trade for J.T. Realmuto. The Phillies catcher wasn’t hitting the way we expected, while Jorge Alfaro was having a strong season.
J.T. Realmuto now hitting .267/.318/.426 after that strikeout, with a wRC+ of 93.— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) July 24, 2019
Jorge Alfaro is hitting .273/.313/.438, with a wRC+ of 100.
Realmuto is the better catcher & baserunner, but given the Phils gave up Sixto, this trade isn't looking great.
Over the last month, one player has shown why many consider him to be the best catcher in baseball, and the other is showing why some scouts aren’t sure he’ll ever develop into a front line player. Alfaro has a .238 on-base percentage in the second half to go along with one home run. Meanwhile, Realmuto is making a case for NL Player of the Month in August, and might ultimately end up with the best season by a Phillies catcher ever.
The most valuable season by a Phillies catcher is Darren Daulton’s 1992 season (7.2 WAR). There’s chance JT Realmuto can eclipse the Phillies 2nd-best catching season, which is also Daulton’s at 5.3 WAR. He will have to keep hitting.— JF (@Jferrie23) August 15, 2019
Now if only there were a way to get Sixto Sanchez back.
Just say Noesi
Remember when the Phillies used to trot out guys like Jerome Williams and Sean O’Sullivan to start games for them? That’s pretty much where the Marlins are these days. Friday night’s game will be started by Hector Noesi, and there is absolutely no excuse for the Phillies to not have a big offensive night.
Noesi began his career with the Yankees, but due to injuries and ineffectiveness, he eventually ended up playing baseball in Korea and was actually successful there. (Wonder if he faced off with Darin Ruf?) The Marlins brought Noesi back to the major leagues, but if they thought that his Korean success would translate to America, they were wrong. He’s made three starts, given up two home runs in each of them, and has an ERA of 9.39.
Who else you got?
Compared to Noesi, Jordan Yamamoto looks downright ace-like. He actually has a win over the Phillies to his credit, although that came two months ago. More recently, he’s become prone to the home run ball, giving up two in each of his last three starts.
Sunday’s starter is Elieser Hernandez. He wasn’t pitching all that well when healthy, and now he’s dealing with a blister on his finger. Typically, blisters do not improve a pitcher’s performance, but maybe he can take advice from former Marlin Josh Beckett who was constantly dealing with them.
Phlashback of ineptitude: Adeiny Hechavarria
In the midst of one of their previous rebuilding efforts (there have been so many), the 2013 Marlins installed young Cuban Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop. Since the team wasn’t expecting to win many games (only 62 wins in 2013), they let the youngster take his lumps. He had a low on-base percentage (.267) and on the rare occasion he did make it to first base, he would often get thrown out attempting to steal. (11 for 21 in stolen base attempts in 2013.)
To his credit, Hechavarria did develop into a positive defender at the middle infield positions to the point where he became a valuable utility man for playoff teams later in his career. He also became prolific at the bat flip.
Better view of Adeiny Hechavarria's bat flip. pic.twitter.com/sTMfUJkw95— handlit33 (@handlit33) August 22, 2019
However, that success was little consolation for the Marlins who suffered through over four seasons of his ineffectual bat before attempting to find another dirt cheap option to replace him.
Just about everyone expects the Phillies to flop in this series. So they’ll be pleasantly surprised when the Phils do the exact opposite of that and sweep the Marlins.