Fresh off clinching a playoff spot, the Phillies return home for a double-header with the Marlins as a part of their 33 games in 31 days stretch to end the season. The Phils looked sluggish both offensively and defensively for the most part against Houston so hopefully being back in Philly with a stadium that draws more than 100 people per game will get them back on track. The Phils swept a doubleheader earlier this season against the Marlins.
The pitching matchups for today’s game, on paper, lean towards one side each game. I think the Marlins have the advantage in game one while the Phils have the clear advantage in game two. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 2:35pm…game two at 7:35pm.
Game 1 – Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 3.64 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (7-6, 3.29 ERA) – Sanchez is coming off of a brilliant start against the Pirates, where he pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout. He struck out 11 Pirates as well. Anibal has faced the Phils four times this year and has a 3.25 ERA over those outings. His most recent start against the Phils came on September 4th, a 5-4 Phils loss. He pitched six innings and gave up two unearned runs. He posts a 2.77 ERA in two starts at Citizens Bank Park this season. Both Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco have two homers and four RBI’s against the Marlins righty. As a team, the Phils are hitting .298 against Sanchez, who is 3-7 with a 5.24 ERA lifetime against the Phillies.
Kendrick will be pitching for the first time since coming back from paternity leave. Before that, he started against the Mets and gave up six runs (two earned) in four innings of work. Kyle did a great job filling in for Roy Oswalt when he was hurt. Before his ugly start against the Mets, Kendrick pitched six innings after a long delay in Washington and gave up just two runs. That is the game Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off grand slam. Kendrick is 6-2 with a 4.60 ERA lifetime against the Marlins, 2-0 in 2011. Kyle last pitched against Florida back in early July, where he went five innings and gave up three runs (one earned) in a 7-6 Phils loss. The Marlins have a .339 average against Kendrick. John Baker has a homer and four RBI’s off of Kyle in five at-bats while Hanley Ramirez has two doubles, a homer and four RBI’s in 27 plate appearances. Gaby Sanchez, in 16 at-bats against Kendrick, is hitting .500.
Game 2 – Alex Sanabia (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.44 ERA) – The Marlins send Sanabia to the hill, who is pitching in his second game this season, his first start. He made 12 starts as a rookie last season and was a September callup this year. He was 5-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 2010 and has never pitched against the Phillies. In his one appearance this year, Sanabia gave up a hit, walked two and struck out two in a scoreless inning of relief. The 23-year old righty went 0-5 with a 5.75 ERA with three different minor league clubs in 2011.
The Phils will go with Cliff Lee, who has won his last seven starts. In his last start, he pitching seven innings against the Brewers and gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out seven. In two starts against the Marlins this season, Cliff is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA to go along with his 11-2 record at home, where opponents are hitting just .211 against him. The Marlins have a .277 average against Lee as a team. John Buck has had the most success against him in 40 at-bats, sporting a .325 average with three homers and seven RBI’s. Jose Lopez and Hanley Ramirez combined have two homers and five RBI’s against the Phils lefty. Lee is in Cy Young contention with teammate Roy Halladay (18-5, 2.35 ERA) and the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (19-5, 2.30 ERA).