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Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies
It was a rough night for Sandy Alcantara the last time he faced the Phillies
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Tiger shrimp tango: Phillies vs. Marlins series preview

Wrapping up the first half with some help from author Tim Dorsey

We’ve come to the final series of the unofficial first half of the baseball season, and it looks like a big one. The Phillies will take their 12-game road winning streak to Miami to face a divisional rival that is currently ahead of them in the standings.

With the games taking place in the state of Florida, it felt appropriate to use quotes from author Tim Dorsey to help preview the series.

Miami Marlins

Record: 51-38, Second place in National League East (8.5 games back)

The last time they met

“Shhh,” said Serge. “The flashback is starting…”

Thanks to the newly implemented “balanced” schedule, we haven’t seen the Marlins in almost three months. As I’ve mentioned before, I welcome this change, because it seemed like there were entire month when the Phillies’ schedule was nothing but games against the Marlins and Mets.

The Marlins came to Philadelphia in mid-April, and after the Phillies rocked them 15-3 in the opener, the Marlins won the next two. In the finale, Jose Alvarado blew a one-run lead in the eighth, and the Marlins prevailed in the tenth.

Since then?

“These are different animals now. They’re starting to winnow out the weak at the fringe of the herd. We need to hurry or this could affect our snack situation.”

Many people expected the Marlins to fade after a strong start, but they had an excellent June, going 19-8 in the month.

They’re 3-3 thus far in July, having lost two to the Braves (losing to the Braves seems to be the hip things to do these days), but rebounding to take three of four from the Cardinals (Similarly, something a lot of teams have done in 2023).

The road show continues

“You just can’t live in Florida without a pool. It’s a necessity, like air conditioning. Or a bidet. Florida is America’s bidet.”

It was slightly overlooked, but the Phillies actually did very well against the Marlins last year, going 12-7. The Phillies had plenty of problems at the Marlins stadium in years prior but went 5-1 in six post-All-Star games there in 2022.

Now that the Phillies have become one of the greatest road teams ever, we’ll see if they can repeat that success this year.

Alcantara again? Oh wait, maybe that’s a good thing

“Is he dead?” “Not sure,” said Serge, “but blood from the ears rarely precedes a big dance number.”

By some quirk of fate, every time these teams face off in a series, Sandy Alcantara is scheduled to pitch. In 2022, that seemed like a bad thing since Alcantara won the Cy Young Award. However, the Phillies did surprisingly well against Alcantara, going 4-2 in games where he started against them.

Alcantara is not enjoying the same success in 2023. In five different starts he’s given up five or more earned runs, including the four inning/nine run shellacking the Phillies handed him back in April.

It might actually be a blessing to get to face him, especially since the other two scheduled starters - Braxton Garrett and Jesus Luzardo - are having strong seasons.

It’s the pitching, stupid

“Don’t you understand? The answer is inside each of you! Don’t follow anyone else! Be your own leader! Lead yourselves!”

Earlier in the season when the Phillies were doing poorly on the road, it felt like the starting pitcher would always give up runs in the first or second inning, and the team was regularly playing from behind. It probably isn’t coincidental that once the rotation began to provide quality starts almost every night, the team began to win those games.

The Phillies have Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, and Aaron Nola scheduled for this series, which should portend success. Despite the presence of power hitting DH Jorge Soler (22 home runs) and star infielder Luis Arreaz (The 2022 AL batting champion is looking to win the NL title this year), the Marlins are just 12th in the NL in runs scored.

Where my Marlins fans at?

“Never entangle your life with a stranger when the only thing to gain is the last word.”

In 2020, the Marlins took advantage of a Phillies team dealing with injuries and handed them several key defeats near the end of the season. I had a bunch of Marlins fans in my mentions talking smack.

In the last two years, when the Marlins can’t use a short season and expanded playoffs to sneak into the postseason, they’ve retreated from sight like cockroaches. Now that the Marlins are winning, I wonder if they’ll come back into the light.

The Marlins as an MCU villain

“But you have to suspend disbelief if you ever want to enjoy another movie or watch the president for more than fifteen seconds without running into the street demanding a new constitutional convention.”


Despite his much more limited resources, Ivan Vanko was able to build his own arc reactor and go toe-to-toe with Tony Stark. Vanko seemed to take special glee in going after Stark and taking him down.

But much like the Marlins’ roster when they start to get too good or expensive, in the end, Vanko got blown up.

About Tim Dorsey

“Serge’s definition of total happiness: Florida, a full tank of gas and no appointments.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Dorsey’s work, he is a former reporter who has a series of novels starring loveable serial killer Serge A. Storms (He only kills people who deserve it, and usually in creative and hilarious ways) and his drug-addled sidekick Coleman. Via Storms’ antics, Dorsey takes readers on a whirlwind tour of Florida, focusing on little-known landmarks or aspects of history that they don’t often teach in school.

If you’ve read the works of other prominent Florida authors like Carl Hiaasen or John D. MacDonald, Dorsey’s books are similar to those, but a bit more madcap and contain a touch more depravity.

Closing thought

“The best life is when your dreams come true. The second best is when they don’t, but you never stop chasing.”

With the Marlins ahead of the Phillies in the Wild Card standings, this would be a very good series for the Phillies to win. I realize that they are bound to lose another road game at some point, but ideally, it would come sometime after this series.

Rise and Phight: 9/29/2023

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