Phillies (4-5) at Marlins (1-8)
The Phillies head to glorious Miami for the weekend to play baseball in an empty room against the league’s crappiest team.
The Marlins have been, as advertised, very bad. The Opening Day attendance was fun, but it’s nine games into the season now, and it’s time for reality to set in: This is not a good team. This is not a fun team. This is a team the Phillies should beat, after the pregame yuks with Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs behind the gatting cage.
Coming off their first series win of the year and a pair of dominant pitching starts from Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies put John Lannan out there to see if he’s going to give them another seven good innings. Chase Utley, Dom Brown, and Michael Young look to keep their bats hot and I’m sure [Marlins player] wants to do well, too.
John Lannan, (0-0) 3.86 ERA
Lannan’s last start was a decent, back of the rotation outing. He went the amount of innings the recipe calls for, which has been uncommon for the Phillies’ staff this year, thanks to its two best pitchers (what?).
He allowed only five hits and three runs against the Royals, which, if current offensive trends continue, should be enough of a barricade to provide a win. If he can keep his pitches down against an even weaker lineup, Lannan should be just fine. Of course, underestimating bad teams is exactly what gets us swept by the Astros every year (and bombarded by the Royals this year). So maybe he should just throw a no-hitter to be safe.
Ricky Nolasco, (0-1) 3.97 ERA
Nolasco has already pitched twice this year, somehow, but has not a victory to show for it. Blame the offense, as he has only allowed five runs in over 11 innings. If you Google him, the results are mostly Bryce Harper stories with Nolasco’s name mentioned in passing as one of the little clown-enthusiast’s victims.
He allowed two runs on Opening Day and lost; he allowed three runs against the Mets and left after 5.1 innings. He’s an improved specimen from recent years, sacrificing his strikeout total for a more workable, home run-stifling strategy. In the small sample size, it appears remotely effective, though he did allow a home run almost immediately to start the season.
Nolasco has been pitching well, and if trends continue, we’ll have to count on the Marlins’ offense to sputter before he does.
Other NL East teams have been making hamburger meat out of the Marlins, and with a small amount of momentum, the Phillies can too. Their offense has been impressing the hell out of Matt Stairs, the human embodiment of a second-deck home run.
Congrats to my buddy nix on ph homer. Phillies playing much better and getting key hits
— mstairs12 (@mstairs12) April 11, 2013
Chase Utley’s solid year continues with exemplary power, knocking another home run in the finale of the Mets series. Michael Young’s bat has caught fire as well, as he scraped against the cycle in one game, then went 2-for-3 with a walk and a double in the last one. Ryan Howard notched a couple of hits and seems to be wrapping his head around things, while Ben Revere struggles to get on base after an impressive debut.
Giancarlo Stanton is the Marlins’ offense and he has been striking out and walking a whole lot. No home runs and only four hits in 34 at-bats. Keep him under wraps and everything will probably be cool; but let’s be honest, you know Greg Dobbs is going to be a pain in the ass just because. Juan Pierre, too. So annoying. As a whole, though, the Marlins’ lineup is non too menacing.
Chris Valaika got his first career start at first base, though!
I read the article and I still don’t know who that is.