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Miami Marlins v New York Mets
Expect to see a lot of bad at bats against Sandy Alcantata on Friday
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

This will not end well: Phillies vs. Marlins series preview

Nothing says “end the first half on a bad note” like a trip to Miami

On Sunday morning, things seemed to be going well for the Phillies. They had won three straight games, and their pitching staff was dominating the Cardinals. And then after taking an early lead in Sunday’s game, something seemed to shift, and they have not won since.

Part of the problem is that because of both injury and distrust of science, they’ve had to use two bullpen games over that four-game stretch. (It didn’t help that neither of the two normally good starters they used pitched well either.) Part of the problem is that the lineup is really showing the effects of missing Bryce Harper, especially now that Kyle Schwarber’s inevitable cool down seems to have happened.

It would certainly help if they would start striking out less and walking more, since that ratio has not been in their favor lately.

With both the offense and pitching struggling, it's not particularly great timing for a trip to Miami, a city that seems to bring the worst out of the Phillies. They are 14-25 in Miami since the start of the 2018 season, including a 1-2 showing in a trip earlier this season.

Miami Marlins

Record: 42-45 (Fourth place in National League East, 12 games back)

The last time they met

The Marlins came to Philly in mid-June and lost two out of three, with both Phillies wins coming in walk-off fashion. The Phillies had a chance to win the middle game as well, but between another horrendous appearance by Jeurys Familia and another blown save by Corey Knebel, they could not hold a lead. (At least one of those guys is pitching better these days.)

Since then?

The Marlins have muddled around since then, going 14-12. There was a six-game winning streak mixed in there, but because four of the wins came against the Nationals, I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.

Who’s cold?

Centerfielder Jesus Sanchez has hit a rough patch of late. Over the past two weeks, his OPS is just .489, and his overall batting average is just .205.

Not so great Scott

The Phillies might actually have the better bullpen than the Marlins at the moment. That’s partly because Marlins closer Tanner Scott hasn’t been reliable. One of the Phillies’ walk off wins came against Scott, and he’s already blown three save opportunities in July.

He seems to have reached Hector Neris status with Marlins fans, where they think he could be usable pitcher, but they don’t want that usability coming in the ninth inning.

You know what’s not going to get the Phillies’ offense going?

I don’t expect the Phillies’ offense to improve much on Friday night when they face Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara has dominated the Phillies for years, but this season, he’s expanded that domination to the entire league. He’s got a 1.73 ERA and is on the short list of players who might be chosen to start the All-Star Game for the National League.

On the other hand...

The Marlins’ offense is not very good either. They rank 13th in the National League in runs scored, and their best player, Jazz Chisholm, is on the injured list. (Sorry for anyone hoping to hear an announcer mispronounce his name.)

Without Chisholm around, the big bat the Phillies need to worry about is...Garrett Cooper, maybe? I accept that someone on the Marlins is going to step up and have a huge series, I’m just not sure who it’s going to be.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: The winning pitchers for the Phillies in the 1993 NLCS were Mitch Williams (twice), Danny Jackson, and Tommy Greene. In the World Series, Terry Mulholland and Curt Schilling earned wins. Nobody was able to name them all.

This series’ question: Marlins Park opened in 2012. Who was the first Phillie to hit a home run in the stadium?

Non-Phillies thought

If we were going to get a renaissance of a 1980’s song, did it have to be Running Up That Hill? Obviously individual tastes in music vary, but if I had to listen to that song on repeat, I might consider being murdered in the Upside Down to be the superior option. Why not use a catchier song like Heart and Soul by T’Pau instead?

Closing thought

Let’s just accept the next three days are going to be unpleasant, and if the Phillies come away with one win, we should feel lucky. After that, the All-Star Game will give us four days away from the team, and maybe they’ll come back ready to resume playing winning baseball.

Gamethread 9/28: Phillies at Cubs

Rise and Phight: 9/28/2022

Clench, not clutch: Cubs 2, Phillies 1