The Phillies Look to Carry Winning Streak Into South Florida

MLB: SEP 20 Blue Jays at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 20: Philadelphia Phillies catcher Rafael Marchan (13) during the Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays on September 20, 2020 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

It’s always lovely visiting friends in Washington, D.C.

See the monuments, go to the Navy Yard, watch the President’s race. Oh, and always a nice little homecoming for Bryce Harper.

However, all good things must come to an end, which brings the Phillies to South Florida. In arguably one of the most divisive series left for 2021, the Phillies need to make a statement against the Marlins.

Improbably, the offense seems to have found its way with crazy glue and duct tape. So with that in mind, let’s focus on the starting rotation as we look towards a weekend series that will hopefully see the Phillies make up some ground on the much-maligned Atlanta Braves.

Probable Pitchers

The Phillies are getting a pretty solid group in Miami (i.e., Matt Moore won’t be a problem). The docket includes trade deadline hero, Kyle Gibson, converted closer back to converted starter Ranger Suarez, and everyone’s favorite former New York Met, Zack Wheeler. Let’s dive in.

Kyle Gibson

Since joining the Phightin’s, Gibby’s made his presence felt. In 37 innings, his 3.16 ERA has been responsible for an estimated 1.2 wins. Incremental improvements, baby.

Barring the occasional no-hit bid, Aaron Nola has continued to struggle while Gibson has stepped up and kept the Phillies soundly alive within the tightly wound NL East. If the Phils make the playoffs, Dave Dombroski deserves some credit for this one, especially given Spencer Howard’s 9.82 ERA since joining the Texas Rangers.

Worth noting, this will be the first time Gibson has ever faced the Marlins, just one of two teams he has never pitched against (Cincinnati Reds being the other). Good luck, bud.

Ranger Suárez

Since his return to the starting rotation, Suárez has an ERA of 2.03. It’s working, and the Phillies have needed it too.

For all the money the Phillies have thrown at their superstars, it’s Suárez with the third-highest WAR on the team this season of 3.7 (behind Zack Wheeler and Harper, tied with Jean Segura).

Funny enough, for his career, Suárez has struggled with the Marlins. In 18 innings, he’s allowed three home runs and walked five for an ERA of 6.00. He’ll look to turn it around this Saturday.

Zack Wheeler

Things didn’t go well for Wheeler in August.

Through six August starts, Wheeler allowed at least four earned runs in all but one appearance. An ERA of 4.81 is a far cry from what he’s done throughout the season.

Well, August was hot, and Wheeler has feasted on the Fish throughout his career. In 17 starts, he has the most wins against the Marlins than any other team he’s faced (9) and has struck out 126 batters. He’s recorded more K’s against only the Washington Nationals with 134.

If there was ever a team to help him get back on track, the Miami Marlins are that team. We know he can do it.

Phillie to Watch

Rafael Marchan

Certainly not the catcher I thought I’d be discussing heading into a series against the Marlins. However, we’ve entered the Phillies’ multiverse, and Dr. Strange just got thrown out for arguing a call at first. Seriously though, watch the Spiderman trailer.

In just 42 At-Bats, Marchan has scrapped together a 0.4 WAR and twelve hits. The sample size may be small, but his role in September cannot be understated.

If we can expect J.T. Realmuto at first base, Marchan will continue to call games throughout the most crucial stretch for Phillies baseball in years. So offensive assistance aside, this is your quarterback for the playoff hunt.

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire