Henderson Alvarez. Image Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins Series Preview: The Phillies begin a ten-game road trip in Miami

The Phillies are currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The hope is that by hitting the road, they can turn their fortunes around. They’re about to embark on a ten-game road trip, and their first stop is a three-game stay in Miami.

The last time they met

Jun 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (26) walks off the field while being congratulated by his team mates after hitting a two RBI walk off home run in the bottom of the fourteenth inning in a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 5-3 in the bottom of the fourteenth inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The two teams squared off in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park that saw each team win two games. The finale was a marathon game that saw the Phillies eventually prevail thanks to a walk off home run by Chase Utley in the 14th inning.

What’s new with the Marlins?

The Marlins are having some troubles of their own. Like the Phillies, the Marlins have also lost their last four games, and are coming off a sweep at the hands of Oakland.

Earlier in the season, the Marlins were dominating at home, but they seem to be regressing a bit. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games at Marlins Park.

Marlins player who isn’t entirely horrible

The Marlins pitching staff was dealt a tough blow when young ace Jose Fernandez went down with an injury. In his absence, Henderson Alvarez has stepped up his game considerably.

Alvarez is 5-3 with a 2.32 ERA. He’s only 24 years old, so if Fernandez can come back healthy, the Marlins could have a dominating front end of their rotation for years to come.

Marlins player who is horrible

Ed Lucas. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Utility infielder Ed Lucas had a particularly bad month of June. It’s rare to find a backup infielder who hits all that well, but Lucas is putting up Michael Martinez level numbers.

In 22 games, he recorded a measly .192 batting average. He didn’t make the most of those hits either, as all five of his June hits were singles.

Lucas is a late bloomer as he didn’t make his major league debut until he was 31. If he doesn’t start hitting better, he might not celebrate his 33rd birthday in the majors.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday: Henderson Alvarez (5-3) vs. A.J. Burnett (5-7)

As mentioned, Alvarez is developing into a top starter. When he faced the Phillies last week, he held them to one run in 6.2 innings.

Since a horrible start against the Nationals at the beginning of June, Burnett has pitched very well. More importantly, he’s pitched deep into games. Over his last four appearances, he’s averaged over 7.2 innings per start.

Wednesday: Tom Koehler (5-6) vs. Cole Hamels (2-4)

Tom Koehler. Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Koehler will be making his second straight start against the Phillies. He had a nice showing for himself last time, giving up two runs in six innings, although the Marlins eventually lost the game.

Hamels continues to excel. His last start wasn’t his finest – he gave up three home runs – but he certainly pitched well enough to win given some decent run support. But as is too often the case, that run support was nowhere to be found.

Thursday: Nathan Eovaldi (5-3) vs. Kyle Kendrick (3-8)

Eovaldi has been all over the place lately. In his last start against the Athletics, he gave up five runs in seven innings. Before that, he shut the Phillies out for 6.1 innings. And before that, he gave up 11 total runs in two starts. It seems that the Phillies offense has a way of improving pitcher’s fortunes.

Kyle Kendrick often starts off looking awful, but by the end of the day, we’re usually left saying, “That wasn’t so bad I guess.”  It would be nice if he could find a way to pitch well for the entire game.

Prediction

Both teams are struggling right now. The Marlins used to be dominant at home, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The Phillies have actually been a decent road team, so I’ll say they take two of the three games.

Tags: Philadelphia Phillies

comments powered by Disqus