The Phillies five-game winning streak is now a memory after losing two consecutive games to the St. Louis Cardinals. While there’s no shame in splitting a four-game series with the Cardinals, after taking the first two games, fans were hopeful for more.
The Phillies will now return home to face the Miami Marlins, and the location of the games favors the Phillies. The Marlins have been much better at home than on the road, as they’re seven games over .500 at Marlins Park, but eight games under .500 on the road.
Of course, the Phillies haven’t exactly take advantage of home field advantage this season. They’re only 16-21 at Citizens Bank Park. This series likely marks their best opportunity to turn that around.
The last time they met
The teams played a three-game series in Marlins Park in late May. The Phillies looked to be in good shape after A.J. Burnett pitched them to victory in the opener. But Kyle Kendrick and the bullpen gave up 14 runs in the second game, and the Marlins won on a walk-off single in the finale.
What’s new with the Marlins
The Marlins are reeling a bit, having lost four of their last five games. But it’s tough to blame the slump on slugger extraordinaire Giancarlo Stanton. He remains as powerful as ever, having hit two home runs in the past week.
Marlins player who isn’t entirely horrible
In his second season, outfielder Marcell Ozuna has looked like the type of player that the young Marlins could build around. His 12 home runs are second on the team.
Marlins player who is horrible
First baseman Garrett Jones has struggled mightily over the past month. Over the last 30 days, Jones is batting .195 with one home run. Not exactly the type of power numbers that you want to get out of your first baseman.
Monday: Nathan Eovaldi (4-3) vs. Roberto Hernandez (3-5)
Eovaldi has been slumping lately. He’s given up eleven earned runs in his last two outings, and the Marlins have lost his last four starts. He did pitch well in his one start against the Phillies this season, surrendering only one run in six innings.
Hernandez didn’t pitch his best game the last time out, but he managed to hang around and earn a win. It would help if he could pitch deeper in games though as he hasn’t lasted longer than six innings in over a month.
Tuesday: Andrew Heaney (0-1) vs. David Buchanan (3-3)
This will be Heaney’s second career start. The top-50 prospect impressed in his debut, giving up only one run over six innings.
His last time out, Buchanan delivered the best start of his career. He gave up only run in 7.2 innings against the Cardinals. Buchanan might not have devastating stuff, but he has shown an ability to consistently throw strikes.
Wednesday: Henderson Alvarez (4-3) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-6)
In his fourth major league season, Alvarez continues to improve. His ERA is 2.39 and he has already thrown three complete games this season.
Burnett has had an inconsistent season, but he’s been strong in his last two starts. If he can limit the number of walks he allows, he should at least be able to keep the Phillies in the game.
Thursday: Tom Koehler (5-6) vs. Cole Hamels (2-4)
At age 27, Koehler qualifies as an old-timer in the Marlins rotation. This is only his second full season though, so it isn’t as if he has a ton of experience. With a 5-6 record and 3.74 ERA, he’s been very average this season.
Hamels is on a great run lately. His record doesn’t reflect it due to the poor run support he’s received, but he’s been as good as anyone over the past month or so.
The Marlins have been shaky on the road all season and are coming in cold. Even though the Phillies have lost two in a row, they have been playing better baseball. I think the Phillies take three out of four.
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