The Phillies have truly become a week-by-week team, and the club will look to turn things around in Miami. The Phils enter this three-game series on a four-game losing streak, following a split in St. Louis and a two-game series loss in Toronto. T
he Marlins have had the Phillies’ number for what feels like forever, and the Phils trail the season series three games to four. The Phillies now sit three games above .500 and have dropped out of the final Wildcard spot. With just three more games until the All-Star break, a series win in Florida will be huge as the Phillies look to build momentum in the second half.
Sneaky Playoff Team?
The Marlins currently sit three games behind the Phillies in the race for the final Wildcard spot. The Fish have been solid this season and are relatively in the same boat as the Phillies at this point in the season. While Miami was not necessarily expected to make the post-season, they have many young players performing well. Jazz Chisholm will start for the National League at second base in the All-Star game, and Sandy Alcantara has a chance to be the starting pitcher for the game.
Jazz Chisolm’s bat flip should be the new MLB logo. pic.twitter.com/ky9DRs6UY5
— Joe Randazzo (@Yankeelibrarian) June 11, 2021
Sandy Alcántara, 100mph Two Seamer with 19 inches of run (with Tail). pic.twitter.com/dv2v6v3V1K
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 24, 2022
Much Needed Break
Since Rob Thomson has taken over, we have seen the Phillies team we expected heading into the 2022 season. The look of the team as it stands heading into Miami looks much different than it did on Opening Day. Injuries have begun to plague the Phillies over the last few weeks, and the All-Star break will provide much-needed rest moving forward.
The break will allow for Bryce Harper and Jean Segura to continue to get healthy. Both players are expected to return at some point this season, and with the stoppage in play, it means that the Phillies will have to suit up fewer times without these players.
Zach Eflin and Ranger Suarez both went down roughly the same time, and the team anticipates that they will be ready to go post-break. Another benefit of the break will be allowing the Phillies to reset their starting rotation. They can now lineup Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola to pitch in back-to-back games. This move would give the Phillies a serious advantage in a series where these two arms pitch.
Alec Bohm luckily did not break his finger Saturday night against the Cardinals. The team doctor did have to pop it back into place, but overall there was nothing too serious with the injury. His status for the series is unknown at this point, but regardless if he plays in these final three, he should be good to go once the Phillies welcome Chicago to town on Thursday.
Offense Needs a Spark
Since Bryce Harper has gone down, Kyle Schwarber has stepped up in his absence. Schwarber has been on fire since June, and the team has relied on him to carry the offense.
Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm have hit well over the last month, but the rest of the lineup has failed to click. JT Realmuto and Nick Castellanos have both been disappointing at the plate this season. The Phillies expected better performances out of two of their higher-paid players. Castellanos could use a nice series against the Marlins to try and jumpstart his second half.
All of Kyle Schwarber’s home runs with the Phillies pic.twitter.com/PEZdQD5sBT
— John Foley (@2008Philz) July 12, 2022
The Marlins will send Sandy Alcantara to the mound on Friday night. He is the only starter listed for the Phillies series at this point in time. Regardless of who else goes this weekend, the Phils have their work cut out for them against the favorite for the National League CY Young award.
If the Phillies can take down Alcantara, there will be a much easier path for them to win the series. Sandy has the most innings pitched in baseball this season, so pitch count won’t be a factor in this one. The Phillies can run him out of the game early by taking what he gives them and not trying to do too much. A small ball strategy should be employed to try and assure runs come across the plate on Friday night.
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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum