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The String: Phillies vs. Marlins series preview

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Because the schedule says so

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Get a good look at these guys this weekend
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

One week ago, while the Phillies’ chances at the playoffs were minimal, they were technically still alive. After going 1-7 in the subsequent eight games, the Phillies are no longer technically alive, and based on their play in most of these games, its tough to say that they’re even trying that hard. (Except for Brad Miller who has unexpectedly become their best player.)

There are now three games left in the season. Those games will be against the worst team in the National League. It should be a thrilling weekend of baseball in South Philadelphia.

Miami Marlins

Record: I don’t know. I could look it up, but if the Phillies aren’t going to put much effort into winning baseball games, I’m not going to put much effort into writing this. All I know is they’re in last place.

The last time they met

The Phillies have had well-publicized struggles against the Marlins this year, but the last series may have been the absolute worst. And that’s saying something considering they had already been swept by the Marlins earlier in the year.

In the first game of that series, the Phillies got off to a 7-0 lead. They ended up losing that game by eight runs. That game should have finally been the end of the Vince Velasquez truthers, but apparently some people out there still believe in his potential as a starter.

After winning the second game of the series, they had Aaron Nola on the mound for the finale, and looked poised to win the series. They did not win the series. If you were morbidly curious as to when the Phillies infamous losing streak in Nola-started games began, that was the day.

Mister Anderson

Without looking it up, could anyone guess which player led the Marlins in WAR this season? According to Fangraphs, the leader is third baseman Brian Anderson, who was worth 3.1 wins. He’s also been on the Injured List for over a month with a broken finger, and that should tell you a lot about how good the Marlins’ position players have been.

Something else about the Marlins

I feel I should write something else about the Marlins, but what else is there to say? This is about the twentieth series between these teams (I lost count somewhere), and despite their putrid results against just about every other Major League team, the Phillies have a losing record against them.

Tickets are available!

This might be difficult to believe, but tickets for this weekend’s series have not been a hot item on the secondary market. Even though there will be no competition from the Eagles on Sunday, I can’t imagine too many people are going to head down to Citizens Bank Park, especially considering the Phillies haven’t even announced a starter, and will likely rely on a bullpen game. If you’re dying for one final chance to cheer on your favorite players like Blake Parker and Nick Vincent, you’ll likely have your opportunity that day.

If the Phillies really wanted to draw a crowd, they’d advertise the game as fans’ last opportunity to boo Gabe Kapler. But somehow, I don’t think that marketing campaign is going to be approved by the front office.

Speaking of the Eagles

Remember when the NFL scheduled the Eagles for three straight road games in October, because they were worried that the Phillies might have had home playoff games at the same time?

Congratulations, Phillies. Not only did you manage to royally screw up your own season, but you also hurt the Eagles as well.

And speaking of Kapler

If the Phillies are playing to save their manager’s job, they haven’t done a great job of showing it over the past week. (Or maybe they have?) I suggest everyone check out the Q&A post with him, because the way things are going, this may not be a long-term feature on the site.

Prediction

In a stunning twist, now that the Phillies are safely eliminated from contention, they will dominate the Marlins the way they should have been doing all year. That strong finish will give the team its first winning record since 2011 and give Kapler and the front office something to point to when talking about success.

Thanks to all the readers

I’d like to thank everyone who read these series previews throughout the season. It’s been a disappointing year, and I wish I had been able to maintain the haughty sense of optimism from April and May. Maybe next year the Phillies can actually hold things together for more than a couple of months. But isn’t that one of the great things about baseball? There’s always next year!