Another Marlins Series?
I only really have one thing to say, and that’s in a Phillies-Marlins Series, some dumb things are going to happen. Since 2019, Philadelphia is 13-19 against Miami. Since 2019, the Phillies are 132-137, while the Marlins are 110-158. That might not seem bad, but it feels like every time there's a Marlins series they're guaranteed to lose in the most infuriating way possible, against an opponent that they should be beating. These two teams last played each other in a three-game series earlier this month, in which the Marlins took 2/3. In the one game the Phillies won, they had a memorable 7 run 8th inning to seal it. In their two losses, they struck out a combined 25 times. As a team, the Phillies are averaging 10.3 strikeouts per game, which is 28th in the league. If they want to snap out of their collective slump, the lineup needs to stop swinging and missing.
Groundbreaking stuff, I know. The lineup saw a change last time out against the Red Sox, where Bryce Harper (who looked to be playing injured) sat out and Brad Miller replaced him. All Miller did was crush a three-run homer in the first inning, and I feel safe in assuming he’ll continue to fill in for Harper in right field for now. Another thing to watch is how/when Nick Maton plays, as the rookie has sat over the last couple games in favor of Ronald Torreyes, which probably doesn’t seem ideal in the long term.
On the mound, the Phillies will send out Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez, and Aaron Nola in games 1,2, and 3 respectively. In games 1 and 2, they’ll face Trevor Rogers and Sandy Alcantra, while Miami's starter for the final game of the series is yet unnamed. Both Miami pitchers made their last starts against the Phillies, pitching a combined 13.2 innings and allowing 7 hits and one run. They also struck out 17 batters. If the Phillies are going to win this series, they need Eflin to continue his strong play this year (1.15 WHIP, 11.4 K/BB) and Aaron Nola to have a big bounce-back (5 IP, 4 ER in his last start). And for Vince Velasquez? he just needs to try and not bleed runs. With or without Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto (currently on the IL), and Didi Gregorius (in the same boat as JT), the offense is going to need to wake up and start making contact. Over his past 10 contests, 1B Rhys Hoskins has been fantastic, rocking an on-base percentage of .465 with 16 total bases. He also had a strikeout rate of 18% in that time, which isn’t awful. Jean Segura has also had a hot bat, slashing .278/.381/.500 over his past 10, with another respectable strikeout rate. Odubel Herrera also has a .905 OPS in his past 10, meaning the Phillies have had some strong individual stretches, but the team as a whole needs to be more consistent and be better with situational hitting. In their last 3 games, the Phillies left an average of 8.33 men on base, which ranks in the bottom third of the league.
In what I’m sure will be the most-watched Philadelphia series of the week, Games 1, 2, and 3 starts Monday through Wednesday all at 6:40 PM, which is a weird time but it’s whatever now. In the division, Philadelphia is tied with Atlanta as 1.5 games back from the Mets and can make up some ground with a strong showing this week. Is it going to decide their season? No. Is it worth watching over say, a sixers playoff game? Probably not but the best I'm hoping for is some exciting baseball.