The Philadelphia Phillies’ second half opens with a crucial 4-game series against the Miami Marlins.
With the All-Star break wrapping up, the Phillies will open with a 4-game series against the Miami Marlins. The Phillies head into this series without some of their key players due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Alec Bohm and Connor Brogdon will likely be out for the Marlins series with Aaron Nola being officially ruled out. Bailey Falter was reinstated from the COVID IL on Friday afternoon.
While this season hasn’t been the best for Nola, he is still one of the top pitchers on the roster and has a higher strikeout rate (11.2) than Zack Wheeler (10.9).
Alec Bohm, while not having a great season overall, has picked up the hitting recently, with a .800 OPS over his last 32 games dating back to June 1.
With Ranger Suarez likely moving to the closer role, Bailey Falter’s role is even more important. With the Phillies team that plans on starting Matt Moore and Vince Velasquez this weekend, Falter’s return provides effective backup to two risky starters.
Finally, not having Brogdon will hurt the back end of the bullpen. The Phillies have already been without Sam Coonrod, so they will have to rely even more on guys like Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, Archie Bradley, and Ranger Suarez.
So with these players out for the Marlins series doesn’t mean the series is less important, they need to play good baseball before the deadline and it starts now.
The Marlins should be taken seriously more seriously than their record or place in the standings, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they have had their way against the Phillies the last two seasons, with a 5-4 record so far this year, and a 7-3 record in 2020.
Miami is also one of the most underrated teams in baseball. While they have a 39-50 record, they have a positive run differential of 353-336. No other fifth-place team in baseball has a positive run differential.
The Marlins also have some fun young talent in Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez, who despite being 23, are both having solid rookie seasons with OPS+’s over 100.
On the pitching side, their three best starters are all under the age of 26. The 23-year-old Trevor Rodgers has a 2.31 ERA striking out 10.8/9 and a FIP of 2.49, Sandy Alcantara has a 3.09 ERA and a 3.53 FIP, and Pablo Lopez also has an ERA hovering 3 and a FIP at 3.20. The only Phillies starters with ERAs under 4 are Wheeler and Eflin, and both are older than 27.
The Phillies could face all three in this series.
When I talked about the schedule for July, I put more emphasis on the Nationals with their 19-9 record for June, however, the Marlins deserve more respect and the Phillies need to improve their record against the division rivals.
This series will certainly help shape the Phillies’ plans at the deadline and potentially, how the second half of the season could go. Dave Dombrowski will certainly be looking to see if the Phillies have what it takes to make a push at the division. These are the type of series that can determine the fate of their season.