Sep 19, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Miami Marlins GM Dan Jennings took over the reigns as interim manager back in May, and has been evaluating the on-field talent during injury-riddled season for the Fish. (Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
The Phillies were last in South Florida a month ago to visit the Miami Marlins. At that point, the Fightins still appeared to actually have some fight left in them, taking the final three games of a 4-game series at Marlins Park.
The club has just one other 3-game winning streak since that time, and has lost 20 of 26 games in the ensuing four weeks. They are now a season-worst 38 games below the .500 mark. Meanwhile, the Marlins are 22 games below .500 themselves, yet still lead the Phils by 8 games in the NL East standings. This does not bode well for viewers who would prefer to watch great baseball.
As covered by our own Tyler DiSalle here at TBOH earlier today, the Marlins have been victimized by a number of key injuries this season. Most importantly, the man who is arguably the most feared slugger in the game when healthy, Giancarlo Stanton, has been out since late June, and will not likely return in 2015.
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Leading the Fish offense in Stanton’s absence are speedy 2nd baseman Dee Gordon, son of ex-Phils closer Tom, who made his 2nd straight NL All-Star team. Gordon is batting .332 with a .356 OBP, leads the club with 187 hits and 78 runs scored, and has put tremendous pressure on opposing defenses with his 53 stolen bases.
Providing power has been 1st baseman Justin Bour. The 27-year old rookie has 18 homers and 62 RBI, the highest totals on the club aside from Stanton, who still leads the team with 27 and 67 despite missing nearly three months.
Talented 23-year old outfielder Christian Yelich is on a bit of a tear, hitting for a .444/.444/.630 slash line over his last half-dozen games. The Miami attack also includes veteran 3rd baseman Martin Prado, hitting .287 with 9 homers and 56 RBI.
Fans can also get a look at 41-year old living legend Ichiro Suzuki, who is now just 67 hits shy of reaching the 3,000 career MLB hits mark. It’s all the more impressive when you consider that he did not come over from Japan for his first season in the States until he was aged 27 in 2001.
On the mound, A.J. Ramos has stepped up and proven himself to be an extremely effective closer. Ramos has appeared in 66 games and registered 28 Saves. He has a 2.48 ERA, a 1.026 WHIP, and has allowed just 42 hits with an 81/25 K:BB ratio.
Getting the ball to Ramos late in games can be a problem for Miami, as they have experienced almost as many problems with their setup work out of the bullpen as have the Phillies during this season.
On the mound during this series, the Fish will roll out underrated righty Tom Koehler for tonight’s opener, rookie lefty Adam Conley on Wednesday, and the old “TBD” for the Thursday series finale. We’ll break down the pitching matchups next.
Next: PHILLIES-MARLINS PITCHING MATCHUPS