clock menu more-arrow no yes
Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants
Trevor Rogers and the Marlins always seem to be a problem for the Phillies
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Another year, another struggle in Miami? Phillies vs. Marlins series preview

Miami hasn’t been very hospitable to the Phillies in recent seasons, but maybe that changes this year

The season is not even a week old, and many Phillies fans are already losing their minds. Based on the reaction of social media (and I acknowledge that social media isn’t necessarily the best barometer for fan opinion) you’d think the team was off to a disastrous start and there was no hope for the season.

The Phillies are currently 3-3, and that’s mostly because the offense - aside from a few sporadic big innings - hasn’t come out firing like we expected. But if you think that guys like Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper are going to bat under .200 all season, you need to get a grip.

A trip to Miami is probably not going to do much to soothe anyone’s feelings. As we all know, the Phillies have had their share of issues when playing games in Miami over the past few seasons. But just because the Phillies have struggled in a given city in the past, it doesn’t mean they will forevermore struggle in that city.

Miami Marlins

Record: 1-4 (Fifth place in National League East)

The last time they met

After the Phillies were eliminated from contention at the hands of the Braves, they had to travel to Miami to wrap up the season. The Phillies won the opener to clinch their first winning record since 2011, and then quietly lost the final two.

West coast blues

The Marlins had to open the season out West, and it didn’t go too well for them. They lost two of three to the Giants and both games against the Angels.

Chilly bats

The warm SoCal climate didn’t do much to heat up the Marlins’ bats. They’re currently last in the National League in runs scored, thanks to being last in on-base percentage and next to last in slugging percentage. They have six players batting under .200 at the moment, and after being one of the lowest scoring teams in 2021, it looks like the Marlins might be in for more of the same this year.

Wasted rotation

The Marlins’ lousy offense is obscuring the fact that they actually have a very good rotation. Aside from Elieser Hernandez, each of the Marlins’ starters had a good initial - albeit abbreviated due to shortened Spring Training - start. Guys like Trevor Rogers and Sandy Alcantara have given the Phillies a lot of trouble over the past few years, so it’s possible that the offense still doesn’t live up to expectations this weekend.

Viering off

With his two main competitors for playing time on the injured list, Matt Vierling had a prime opportunity to seize the starting centerfielder job for himself. That hasn’t gone too well so far as Vierling is hitless through the first six games.

He hit into some very bad luck in the Oakland series, but against the Mets, he seemed to genuinely struggle at times. It’s possible that the bad luck got into his head a little, leading to an actual slump.

Unlike some of his teammates, Vierling doesn’t have a successful track record to make me confident that he’ll pull out of this, especially given the struggles that other young Phillies hitters have endured the past few seasons. On the other hand, Vierling is batting in the ninth spot, and if some of his teammates were playing up to their capabilities, his issues would seem much less pronounced.

Are the struggles against the Marlins overblown?

TGP’s resident stats guru and fact checker illustrated that the Phillies-Marlins rivalry hasn’t been nearly as bad as it might seem in the minds of Phillies fans.

It isn’t like the Marlins have outright dominated the Phillies. The Phillies have actually gotten the better of the rivalry over the past decade.

On the other hand, prior to 2018, Phillies fans generally didn’t expect the team to beat anyone, Marlins included. Since that time, the Phillis were projected to be in contention, while the Marlins have been in rebuild mode, so the lack of domination on the Phillies’ part seems worse.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: Aaron Loup was the past Phillie and Jeurys Familia was the future Phillie to play for the Mets in final matchup in 2021. JCDentonEsq got it first.

This series’ question: In honor of the team’s first road game of the season: Since the start of the 2012 season, two players have hit more than 40 home runs in road games as members of the Phillies. Who are they?

He didn’t deserve it

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of a Mets fan having his phone grabbed from his hand and thrown onto the field. Maybe there’s more to the incident than I’ve seen, but I don’t think obnoxiously cheering for the opposing team is justification for grabbing and disposing of someone’s property.

Closing thought

Winning three out of four in Miami would do a lot to ease the concerns of Phillies fans. Winning three out of four thanks to Schwarber, Harper, and company hitting lots of dingers would do even more. Will it happen? Probably not, but it would certainly be nice.

Gamethread 5/28: Phillies at Mets

Faltered: Mets 8, Phillies 6

Gamethread 5/27: Phillies at Mets