Series Preview: Can the Phillies break their Marlin Curse?

Diamondbacks Phillies Baseball
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson throws during the third inning of the team’s baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Phillies’ nine-game winning streak has come to an end. However, the Phillies have shown tremendous promise over the last two weeks and have gotten themselves back into the playoff picture.

With a 30-30 record, the Phils will host the Miami Marlins in a three-game series starting Monday Night. The Fish have notoriously been a roadblock for the Phillies, and if the club wants to make a run for the playoffs, they will have to start beating their division rival.

Fish on Fire

Just like the Phillies, the Marlins have been putting some wins together. The team is 7-3 in their last ten games and has started to climb back into the playoff picture. Starter Pablo Lopez has been one of the best in baseball this season.

Lopez is 4-2 on the season with a 2.30 earned run average. Marlins’ second basemen Jazz Chisholm has been on a tear. In the last week, Chisholm is batting .333 with four homeruns and nine runs batted in. If the Phillies are to win a series against Miami, they will have to take both of their stars out of their rhythm.

Some Old Phillies?

It is time to find out whether or not the Joe Girardi firing has changed the Phillies for the better. While the team just ran off an impressive nine-game win streak, they caught both the Angels and Brewers amidst long-losing streaks.

The Phillies are playing a team they should beat on paper, but Miami has had a grip on the Phillies in years past. When the two teams met earlier in the season, the Marlins took 3 of 4 down in Miami.

Now it is time for the Phillies to dig back into this season series and take 2 of 3 at home. If the Phillies fall flat against the Marlins, it could prove that the team hasn’t truly changed. This tiny series in the middle of the season is crucial because it is more about confidence and mojo than the actual baseball results.

Finally, overcoming the team that has consistently put you in the dirt is a morale boost for anyone. A series win can show the Phillies are legit and mean business. If Rob Thomson can lead his boys to another series victory this week, the Phillies are heading in the right direction.

Probable Pitchers

Game 1:

Aaron Nola (4-4, 3.50 ERA) vs Sandy Alcantara (6-2, 1.61 ERA)

The Phillies will have their work cut out for them in this series. Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins is one of the best young pitchers today. Alcantara’s 1.61 earned run average is in the upper echelon of aces this season, and he is making a case for the Cy Young award. He has pitched well against the Phillies in years past, and the Phillies red hot offense will need to return after an unusually slow day on Sunday.

Game 2:

Zach Eflin (2-4, 3.76 ERA) vs. Trevor Rogers (3-5, 5.58 ERA)

Overall, Zach Eflin has been solid for the Phillies this season. However, like in years past, Eflin has shown he can still deliver a great game and follow it up with a clunker. The Phillies need Zach to come out firing on Tuesday night. The Marlins will send Trevor Rogers to the mound for game two. Rogers had a fantastic rookie season in 2021 but has hit the dreaded sophomore slump in 2022. The Phillies will need to take advantage of the lefty’s struggles and put runs on the board early.

Game 3:

Kyle Gibson (4-2, 4.41 ERA) vs Pablo Lopez (4-2, 2.30 ERA)

Heading into the final game of the series, the Phillies will have to be on their A-game when Pablo Lopez steps on the mound. Lopez has been shutting down some of the best offensive talents in the game today and the Phils need to take a smart approach against him.

Lopez is not going to make many mistakes, so the Phillies need to capitalize when he does and use small ball to score runs. Bunting and stealing could prove to be effective in what should be a low-scoring game. Kyle Gibson has been good for the team but the Phillies need him to maintain the course. Limiting mistakes and good location will be pivotal in winning the final game in this three-game set.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chris Szagola