On May 28th, the Florida Marlins were 30-20 and 2 games back in the National League East. Since then the Fish are 30-56 and 28.5 games back behind the Phillies. Any momentum they had heading into their new stadium was lost in May when they went 5-22. The Marlins recently had a five game series against the Mets, who aren’t much better, and lost four out of five. Offensively things have seemed to click for Emilio Bonifacio. He leads the team with a .288 batting average and 33 stolen bases. Mike Stanton leads the team in home runs (31), RBIs (79), and OPS (.894). The Phillies are coming off a four game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds to move to 87-46. It’s only the second time in franchise history that the team has ever been 41 games over .500. During the win on Thursday, Ryan Howard hit his 30th home run of the season to become the third Phillies player to hit 30 home runs and have 100 RBIs in six consecutive seasons since 1900. The Phillies outscored the Reds 21-6 in the series, pretty impressive considering the Reds came into the series leading the National League in runs scored. In case you were wondering, only 40 percent chance of thunderstorms this weekend in Miami, so just maybe the Phillies and Marlins play an entire series.
Game 1- Brad Hand (1-4, 4.08 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (6-8, 3.77 ERA) Hand is getting the call up from Double A Jacksonville. He’s only made eight career starts posting a 1-4 record with a 4.08 ERA. Hand has a very unimpressive 24-25 strikeout to walk rate. His saving grace going into tonight’s outing is that he’s left-handed so he’ll probably throw a three hit shut out. He’s never faced the Phillies. Roy Oswalt took a step back in his last start against the Marlins. He pitched into the sixth inning, but gave up 12 hits and five earned runs. The one dagger was a grand slam to John Buck. His velocity was down from his previous start in Washington and his location was spotty at best. Oswalt, with the loss, fell to 6-5 lifetime with a 3.96 ERA against the Marlins. Mike Cameron is 10 for 33 off of Oswalt and Logan Morrison is 4 for 10 against him with a home run.
Game 2- Ricky Nolasco (9-10,4.34 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.58 ERA) Nolasco has given up six or more hits in his last 10 starts as he has struggled along with his team. He took the loss in his start vs. the Mets, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing four runs. Perhaps Nolasco can turn around his average season against a team that he has had success against. He is 6-4 with 3.36 ERA in his career against the Phillies. This season, Ricky has pitched 13 and 1/3 innings against the Phils and has given up just two earned runs. Raul Ibanez is 5 for 16 against Nolasco while Chase Utley is 9 for 29 against him with a home run. Ryan Howard is only 5 for 28 against him, but has three home runs. Cole Hamels was brilliant against the Reds. He pitched six innings, allowed just two hits, one run, and struck out seven. He was on a pitch count because he hadn’t started in the 19 days prior. Cole has a losing record against the Marlins in his career (6-7), but has a solid ERA at 3.41 and 118 strikeouts in 116 innings. Hamels has made three starts against the Fish this season, going 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 18 strikeouts. Omar Infante has 14 hits in 46 at bats against Hamels while Logan Morrison is 4 for 14 with a home run against him as well.
Game 3- Anibal Sanchez (7-7, 3.97 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (16-5, 2.47 ERA) Sanchez only gave up two runs in his six innings of work in his last start vs. the Mets, but allowed 11 base runners and threw 117 pitches to take the loss. He’s in the top five in the National League in strikeouts with 168. Sanchez has an ERA of six in his last two months. Anibal, in his career, hasn’t been very good against the Phillies, going 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA. In three starts against the Phillies this season, he has three no-decisions, but his ERA is 4.65. Chase Utley and Placido Polanco own Sanchez, Utley is hitting .484 against him and Polanco is hitting at .464 clip. Halladay finally had a start with no rain involved on Tuesday in Cincinnati. Showing no rust, Halladay allowed two hits in seven innings and struck out nine, picking up his 16th win of the season. Doc is 4-3 with a 2.67 ERA against the Fish. In fifteen innings against the Marlins this season, he is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA, along with seventeen strikeouts and just two walks. Jose Lopez is 8 for 24 and Gaby Sanchez is 6 for 21 with two home runs against Halladay lifetime.