By winning two out of three against the Padres, the Phillies pretty much ensured “that’s what’s in” will not include San Diego and the playoffs. Now, the Phillies have a chance to strike a similar blow to a division rival which is missing a couple of key players.
Record: 72-68, Third place in National League East (19 games back)
The last time they met
The Phillies were in Miami a little over a month ago and had a strong series. They took three of four and probably should have swept the series, considering they blew three leads (include 5-0) in the one loss.
The Marlins have been a .500 team since then, and just as it seemed like they were going to fade from the playoff picture, they ripped off a six-game winning streak. That streak came to an end on Wednesday with a 10-0 shellacking by the Dodgers. (I do appreciate when a team ends a losing streak in spectacular fashion.)
The Marlins’ offense had been hot during the win streak, averaging eight runs per game. They’ve been led by Jesus Sanchez and Jazz Chisholm who has put up an .880 OPS over the last two weeks despite not walking once during that time.
Tough road ahead
If the Marlins are going to make the playoffs, they are going to have to earn it. In addition to this series against the Phillies, they have three games against the Braves and seven against the Brewers left on the schedule. At least that’s somewhat mitigated by nine combined games against the Mets and Pirates.
And the injuries aren’t helping
Two long-time Phillies nemeses won’t be in action this weekend with Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Soler both being on the Injured List.
I know that it won’t really seem like a Phillies vs. Marlins series if we don’t get an Alcantara start, or Soler doesn’t hit at least one home run against them. We’ll just have to find a way to power through without them.
But they do have Josh Bell
Speaking of Phillies nemeses, Josh Bell should be in action this weekend. In 32 games over the past three seasons, Bell has 11 home runs and 32 RBIs to go along with a .382 on-base percentage.
Couldn’t have predicted that!
When the Marlins traded for David Robertson in late July, many Phillies fans predicted that the move might not work out well for them. And sure enough, it hasn’t.
You probably remember that game in early August when Robertson was facing Nick Castellanos. Castellanos was coming off a dreadful July in which he may have been the worst player in baseball, but he didn’t miss this mistake pitch by Robertson.
Nick Castellanos go-ahead two-run bomb in the ninth!— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 2, 2023
David Robertson blows the save in his second game with the Marlins pic.twitter.com/Azfc6Rn6Uv
Things didn’t get any better after that. Robertson went on to blow two more saves, as well as an extra inning appearance where he allowed three runs. He has since been removed from the closer role.
When I’m in the kitchen and hear Pauly say David Robertson is in the game— Jab (@jaxisblessed) August 31, 2023
I’ve made no secret of my man crush on Handsome Dave, but after seeing him wear down at the end of last season (not to mention the stink he accumulated from being on the Mets), it was easy to think he might not work out the way the Marlins hoped.
Stop walking batters!
The Phillies’ bullpen was a little better against the Padres, but they’re still having issues with walking batters. Gregory Soto has outings where it looks like he has no concept of the strike zone, and Jose Alvarado appears to be in 2021 mode.
My theory is, if it's the late innings and you’ve got a multi-run lead and there’s nobody on base, you might as well throw it right down the middle on a three-ball count.
Last series’ answer: Since the start of the 2013 season, no Phillie has more RBIs in Milwaukee than Maikel Franco with 15. Factory Reset got it right.
This series’ answer: Who is the Marlins’ franchise leader in hits at Citizens Bank Park?
Since I couldn’t think of anything else to say about the Marlins, please enjoy this fish related commercial.
This baby debuted during the NCAA basketball tournament, and I must have seen it about 500 times in a four-day span.
I know a late-season series against the Marlins stirs up bad memories for many Phillies fans, but the Phillies have done well against them lately. With two of the Marlins’ best players out of action, the Phillies need to win the series and keep their hold on the top Wild Card spot. And if they can hurt the playoff chances of a division rival while doing so, all the better.