Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins

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Following a two-game mini-series split against Toronto, the Phillies (47-73) head south to Miami (49-71) to take on the Marlins in a four game weekend series.

The series will take place in Marlins Park, which has larger dimensions than Citizens Bank Park, making it harder to play defense in the outfield.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The Marlins just took a series victory over Milwaukee, the same team that swept the Phillies just last weekend. Miami is now 15 games out of first in NL East and has a 2-game lead on the Phillies.

Miami’s 25th ranked offense is led by speedy 2nd baseman Dee Gordon (.334/.357/.419, 2 HR, 35 RBI, 40 SB), underrated shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (.284/.316/.378, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 6 SB), and the power-hitting Justin Bour (.247/.322/.431, 12 HR, 38 RBI).

The Phillies just split two games with the Jays, which still has them sputtering a little. More importantly, that series was the Phillies’ last with Chase Utley, who was traded to the Dodgers. The Phillies will miss their franchise icon, but will have to move on to competing in this series.

The Phillies’ Utley-less line-up is led by exciting rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera (.291/.324/.426, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 14 SB), steady infielder Cesar Hernandez (.279/.351/.359, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 18 SB), and slugging veteran Ryan Howard (.234/.282/.443, 19 HR, 65 RBI).

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

Jerome Williams (4-8, 5.47 ERA) v. Brad Hand (2-3, 4.74 ERA) – Believe it or not, Williams is putting together a nice stretch of baseball with three straight good starts in August. His latest (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 SO), took place in Milwaukee. The Phils would certainly love for Williams to keep this stretch going and help them start the series off on the right foot. His opponent, Hand, has only six starts this season and only three since mid-June. He will be looking for a bounce-back start tonight after a tough outing (6 IP, 6 ER, 11 H, 0 BB, 5 SO) in St. Louis. Hand has been a bit inconsistent in his six starts this season so who knows quite what to expect with him.

Jerad Eickhoff v. Kendry Flores (1-1, 2.35 ERA) – Eickhoff got the call to fill the empty spot in the rotation on Friday. He came to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade and has a 2.49 ERA and 0.92 WHIP through three starts with the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs. His opponent, Flores, is another rookie, one who also has no career starts to his name. He’s been decent in limited relief appearances, but is taking on something completely different in a starting role. Flores will have to show that he belongs as a starter.

Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.79 ERA) v. Justin Nicolino (2-1, 4.24 ERA) – Harang had a terrible start in Milwaukee (4.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 SO) that was representative of the poor August he’s been having. In three August starts, Harang has allowed 18 earned runs in 15 innings pitched. He’ll definitely be looking to make a change. The Marlins are sending out another rookie in Nicolino. With only four career starts, Nicolino has split with two decent and two poor outings. His most recent start came in Milwaukee (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 SO) and was pretty solid. Nicolino likely hopes to build off that game when he faces the Phils on Saturday.

Aaron Nola (3-1, 4.41 ERA) v. Adam Conley (1-0, 5.82 ERA) – Nola was once again pretty mediocre against the Blue Jays on Tuesday (5 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 SO). After four straight middling games from Nola, he’s probably due to break out of his funk. The Phillies would benefit tremendously in this series if he would. Conley is the third rookie starter the Marlins are sending out in this four-game weekend series. Conley has 7 games and 3 starts to his name. His most recent start, Tuesday, was lacking (3.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 7 SO). He’ll be looking to have a much better game.

SERIES KEYS:

Marlins’ lack of starting pitching – The Marlins are sending out three rookies in this four-game series, and the three of them combined have only seven career starts. The Phillies will have to hit against these young pitchers who are still trying to find their niche in the MLB. If the Phillies can do so, they should be very well positioned to take this series.

Big start from Nola – After a few mediocre starts in a row, the Phils could use a big outing from him to close off the series. With Eickhoff making his debut and two unpredictable veterans going, the Phillies need Nola to anchor the rotation in this series finale.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Thursday: 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)

Friday: 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)

Saturday: 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio 1210 WPHT, 98.1 WOGL, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)

Sunday: 1:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE forecast for Marlins Park in Miami, Florida

NOTE: Marlins Park is a retractable roof facility, so weather should not be a major factor this weekend

Tonight

A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 79. East wind 3 to 6 mph.

Friday

A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Friday Night

A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 79. Light southeast wind.

Saturday

A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 90. Light and variable wind.

Saturday Night

A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 80. South wind around 5 mph becoming calm after midnight.

Sunday

A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. Northeast wind 5 to 9 mph.


INJURIES / DISABLE LIST

MARLINSUpdatedStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Alvarez, Henderson (P)08/16Out for Season2016Recovering from July 2015 right shoulder surgeryUnderwent surgery to repair torn labrum July 28.
Capps, Carter (P)08/1615-day DLPossibly week of Aug. 17Right elbow strainThrew bullpen session Aug. 11; expected to begin rehab assignment week of Aug. 17.
Crow, Aaron (P)05/07Out for Season2016Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgeryUnderwent Tommy John surgery April 8.
Fernandez, Jose (P)08/1915-day DLTBDRight biceps strainWas scheduled to play catch for first time since injury Aug. 17.
Kelly, Don (3B)08/16Out for Season2016Recovering from July 2015 Tommy John surgeryUnderwent Tommy John surgery July 14.
Phelps, David (P)08/19Out for Season2016Right forearm fractureWill miss rest of season after MRI revealed fracture.
Rienzo, Andre (P)08/0715-day DLTBDLeft knee lacerationPlaced on 15-day DL on Aug. 7 retroactive to Aug. 4.
Stanton, Giancarlo (RF)08/1715-day DLPossibly AugustRecovering from June 2015 left hand surgeryHitting off a pitching machine and live pitching as of Aug. 17 update.
Urena, Jose (P)08/0815-day DLTBDLeft knee contusionPlaced on 15-day DL on Aug. 7.
Yelich, Christian (LF)08/1515-day DLPossibly late AugustRight knee contusionPlaced on 15-day DL on Aug. 15 retroactive to Aug. 10.

PHILLIESUpdatedStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Billingsley, Chad (P)08/1615-day DLTBDRight flexor strainWas scheduled to have elbow re-examined week of Aug. 10.
Franco, Maikel (3B)08/1815-day DLTBDFractured left wristPlaced on 15-day DL on Aug. 18 retroactive to Aug. 12.
Hollands, Mario (P)04/20Out for Season2016Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgeryUnderwent Tommy John surgery April 8.
Lee, Cliff (P)04/0560-day DLPossibly 2015Left common flexor tendon tearShut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.
Pettibone, Jonathan (P)08/08Out for Season2016Recovering from July 2015 shoulder surgeryUnderwent season-ending surgery July 22.
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