The Miami Marlins were dealt a damaging blow against the best team in the National League East, but they hope to rebound against the division’s worst when they begin a four-game set with the visiting Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. After winning 13 of 16 games to get back into the playoff hunt, the Marlins lost three straight at Washington - capped by Wednesday’s 4-0 loss.
They managed five runs and 22 hits in the series, falling back to .500 and 5 1/2 games behind Colorado in the race for the NL’s second wild card. “I think we just keep going,” starter Adam Conley told reporters after a hard-luck loss Wednesday. “Three games at their place against the team leading our division doesn’t outweigh how long we’ve been playing good baseball.” Included in Miami’s recent surge was a series win last week in which they took three out of four at Philadelphia. Giancarlo Stanton, who remained stuck on 51 home runs Wednesday, went deep twice in that series against the Phillies, who enter on a sour note after dropping both ends of a doubleheader against Atlanta by a combined score of 14-3.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia, FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Phillies RH Ben Lively (1-5, 4.36 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 3.70)
Lively had an uneven start against the Chicago Cubs his last time out, allowing a season-high six runs while striking out a season-high eight batters in five innings. The rookie served up four home runs - also a personal high - after keeping the ball in the park in 16 1/3 innings over the course of his previous three outings. The 25-year-old will be facing the Marlins for the first time and is 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA in five road starts.
Despaigne made his first start in nearly four months a good one, limiting San Diego to one run and three hits over six innings Saturday. The 30-year-old from Cuba has allowed one run in 12 frames over six games (one start) at Marlins Park this year. He tossed 2 2/3 scoreless frames at Philadelphia on Aug. 23 but has an 8.44 ERA in three career relief appearances versus the Phillies.
1. Stanton is batting .307 with a 1.128 OPS in 62 home games.
2. Marlins 3B Derek Dietrich was hitless in nine at-bats in the Washington series and has struck out 16 times in his last 10 games.
3. Phillies rookie LF Rhys Hoskins has gone three games without a home run after hitting 11 in his first 18 career contests, although he is 4-for-12 with a double in that stretch.
PREDICTION: Marlins 7, Phillies 4