After what may have seemed like a short break to some Phillies fans, but way too long for nearly everyone else, baseball is back! The Phillies (29-62) welcome a divisional foe in the Miami Marlins (38-51) for a three-game weekend set at Citizens Bank Park.
Miami comes off a good series against the Reds last weekend in which they took three of four, winning the last two in blowout fashion. Despite their solid play just before the break, the Marlins sit just above your abysmal Phillies in 5th place in the NL East, eleven games behind the division leading Nationals.
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The Marlins were thought to be viable contenders this year, but got off to a rough start and brought in Dan Jennings as their new manager. Unfortunately, the sputtering continued, and they have gone 22-29 since.
The offense has taken quite a hit in recent weeks, losing All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton (wrist) to the DL and Dee Gordon (thumb) for the weekend. However, the squad bested Johnny Cueto and the Reds by 8-1 the day before the break, so they are still capable of putting up some runs. The shorthanded Miami offense will be led by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (.278/.315/.377, 4 HR, 35 RBI), versatile Martin Prado (.272/.311/.370, 4 HR, 24 RBI, and rookie slugger Justin Bour (.268/.346/.500, 10 HR, 27 RBI).
The Fightin’ Phils stumbled into the break as losers of five straight. Their continued dreadful play has them an incredible twenty-one games out of first. The Phillies’ offensive unit is led by rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco (284/.339/.495, 10 HR, 34 RBI), speedy outfielder Ben Revere (.297/.337/.379, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 21 SB), and new 2nd sacker Cesar Hernandez (.280/.364/.355, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 12 SB).
Adam Morgan (1-2, 4.32 ERA) v. Jose Fernandez (2-0, 2.08 ERA) – Morgan is coming off his first poor start (4 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) of his young Major League career. Through three games, the rookie lefty has shown the ability to be one of the better starters for the Phils. Tonight’s ballgame will now serve as an opportunity to see how he moves past this recent failure. Unfortunately for him, he’ll be facing one of the game’s top young pitchers in Fernandez. In just his second game back following TJ surgery and rehab, Fernandez appeared to regain top form with a very impressive line (7 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 9 SO). Phillies fans would probably be foolish not to expect more of the same in tonight’s game.
Chad Billingsley (1-3, 6.75 ERA) v. Tom Koehler (7-5, 3.40 ERA) – After putting up another weak start (5 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 2 SO), Billingsley has proven to be fairly inconsistent. At the very least, he needs to try to go six innings on Saturday. This is a feat he has only accomplished twice this season. Meanwhile, Koehler has been very consistent; turning in a relatively solid 10 Quality Starts this year. However, he only went five innings and yielded three runs to the Phillies earlier this year, so the club will be trying to work him again.
Cole Hamels (5-7, 3.63 ERA) v. Dan Haren (7-5, 3.24 ERA) – Hamels just delivered one of the worst, if not the worst, starts of his career (3.1 IP, 9 ER, 12 H, 2 BB, 4 SO). That start alone should not have any effect on his trade value, because sometimes a pitcher just doesn’t have it. Just a few starts away from the trade deadline, any game could be his last in red pinstripes. He just needs to go out on Sunday and pitch the way he normally does without getting too concerned over the impending drama. Haren, meanwhile, has put together a very nice season of his own (111 IP, 79 SO, 1.07 WHIP). The Phils failed to score on him when he faced them earlier this year, so he and Hamels set up to be a pretty good pitchers duel in the series finale.
Bounce-back game from Hamels – I know I mentioned that his last start should not have any effect on his trade value, but it still would be nice to show everyone that he is healthy and ready to go. A big game from Cole would do wonders for the Phils’ chances of taking the series, considering that they have some tough pitchers to go up against this weekend.
Ryan Howard picking up where he left off – For quite a while, the Big Piece had been devoid of much production, but he put together a nice three games (5 for 11, 4 RBI) right before the break start. The Phillies offense would pick up tremendously if he built off that and started a hot stretch. Not to mention, an extended period of better play may once again catch the eye of an American League team looking for some lefty pop at an even further discounted price. That seems pretty unlikely, but one can hope.
Game 1: Friday, 7:05 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM
Game 2: Saturday, 7:05 PM, TV: NBC10, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM
Game 3: Sunday, 1:35 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE weekend forecast for Citizens Bank Park in South Philly
Mostly sunny, with a high near 83. South wind around 9 mph.
A slight chance of showers between 11pm and midnight, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70. South wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 90. South wind 7 to 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 75. Southwest wind 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
INJURIES / DISABLED LIST
|Alvarez, Henderson (P)||07/15||15-day DL||Possibly late July||Right shoulder inflammation||Sent on Class A rehab assignment July 15.|
|Baker, Jeff (2B)||07/10||15-day DL||Possibly late July||Left intercostal strain||Placed on 15-day DL on July 10 retroactive to July 8.|
|Crow, Aaron (P)||05/07||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgery||Underwent Tommy John surgery April 8.|
|Gordon, Dee (2B)||07/14||Any day||Possibly mid-July||Dislocated left thumb||Exited game early, X-rays were negative July 11; expected to avoid DL as of July 12 update.|
|Kelly, Don (3B)||06/29||15-day DL||TBD||Right ring finger fracture||Sent on Class A Advanced rehab assignment June 22.|
|Latos, Mat (P)||07/14||Any day||After All-Star break||Right foot bruise||Scratched from July 11 start after being struck by foul ball July 9.|
|Prado, Martin (3B)||07/07||15-day DL||Possibly July 17||Right shoulder sprain||Sent on Class A Advanced rehab assignment July 7.|
|Stanton, Giancarlo (RF)||06/29||15-day DL||Possibly late July||Recovering from June 2015 left hand surgery||Underwent successful surgery June 28; placed on 15-day DL on June 27.|
|Harang, Aaron (P)||07/02||15-day DL||TBD||Plantar fasciitis in left foot||Placed on 15-day DL on July 2.|
|Hollands, Mario (P)||04/20||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgery||Underwent Tommy John surgery April 8.|
|Lee, Cliff (P)||04/05||60-day DL||Possibly 2015||Left common flexor tendon tear||Shut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.|
|Pettibone, Jonathan (P)||07/09||60-day DL||TBD||Right shoulder||Scheduled to undergo surgery July 22.|
|Utley, Chase (2B)||07/12||15-day DL||Possibly late July||Right ankle inflammation||Doing light running, fielding ground balls as of July 12 update.|
|Williams, Jerome (P)||07/12||15-day DL||Possibly mid-July||Left hamstring strain||Sent on Class A rehab assignment July 12.|