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MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Nola could help put Phillies fans’ minds at ease
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Feast on the goo: Phillies vs. Marlins series preview

After a rough trip out West, is it time for Phillies fans to panic?

I’ll be blunt: The Phillies’ Western trip didn’t go so well. Going 1-5 against two non-contenders isn’t a good thing, especially when one of those teams appeared to be in freefall heading into the series.

But was the Phillies’ road trip all that bad? I mean, aside from the starting pitching getting lit up, the leaky bullpen, the lack of clutch hitting, and the poor defense, they generally did okay.

I know that many fans are in “Here we go with another September collapse” mode, but I’m not ready to declare the month to be a failure when it’s only six days old. The Phillies theoretically get a break by returning home to face one of the lesser lights in their division. Now, if they continue to struggle this week...

Miami Marlins

Record: 55-78 (Fourth place in National League East, 29 games back)

The last time they met

The Phillies hosted the Marlins in mid-August and won two out of three. Unfortunately, Edward Cabrera proved too tough for the Phillies’ lineup and shut them out in the third game.

Since then?

The Marlins have tanked, going 5-17, and are currently on a seven-game losing streak. Of course, the Giants were similarly slumping before the weekend, and we saw how well that worked out.

If you can’t shut these guys down...

Phillies’ starters haven’t had a good time of it lately, but they’ll be facing one of the weakest offensive teams in the NL. I know that Jon Berti and Miguel Rojas have had some moments against the Phillies in recent years but come on. If the pitching staff continues to look shaky in this series, then I’m going to be very worried.

Who’s cold?

When Garrett Cooper made the National League All-Star team, it wasn’t that outlandish of a selection. He had an .855 OPS when the month of July began, but since then, he has hit two home runs, and his batting average has dropped 70 points. He has a grand total of five hits since the start of August.

Bringing out the best in them

The Phillies will once again get to face Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara. While it’s imposing to face one of the best pitchers in baseball (for the fifth(!) time this season) that might actually be a good thing, since facing him seems to bring out the best in the Phillies pitching staff.

In Alcantara’s last start against the Phillies, Noah Syndergaard kept the team in the game, allowing them to mount a late comeback. Previously, Kyle Gibson did the same. And in the start before that, Aaron Nola essentially matched his pitching line. The Phillies won all three games.

He’s scheduled to face Gibson again this time around. Gibson is coming off a particularly bad start, but that has almost no predictive value towards how his next start will go. It would certainly be nice if he could once again at least keep the Phillies in the game.

Speaking of Nola

He’ll get the start in Tuesday’s opener. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it would be really great if he pitched well. If he has another rough outing, I might have to delete Twitter.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: Cesar Hernandez’s 171 hits paced the Phillies during Gabe Kapler’s two seasons at the helm. SLDH got it right.

This series’ question: Since the start of the 2012 season, six different Marlins players have stolen multiple bases in one game against the Phillies. (One of them did it four times!) Name at least three of the six. (Tiebreaker will go to anyone who can name more)

Non-Phillies thought

Not that anyone is curious, but I’ll give a full Eagles prediction in Friday’s preview. For now, I’ll say I’m not sure why the Cowboys are the favorites in the NFC East when the Eagles appear to have the superior roster. Most of the logic comes down to Dak Prescott > Jalen Hurts, but since when did Prescott reach the level of “his presence alone makes them the favorite?” It’s not like the guy has been Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady level good during his career.

Closing thought

I really don’t want to have to panic about the Phillies, so it would be great if they could take care of business and win at least two games in this series.

Whatever: Astros 3, Phillies 2

Gamethread 10/5: Phillies at Astros

The Phillies’ all-drought team