Phillies Try to Beat Storm While Facing Marlins

Posted by Kevin Durso

Philliedelphia/Kevin Durso

What a hectic few days it's been for the Phillies. After managing to play Tuesday night after a minor earthquake, Hurricane Irene has threatened play in their upcoming series with the Marlins. Due to the hurricane, the Phillies moved Sunday afternoon's game to Saturday as part of a doubleheader, and even those two games aren't guarantees for baseball. Still, the Phillies anticipate the storm will cause some problems, and with just three home games left before September, the Phillies are going to try to get them all in.

The Marlins are still at the bottom of the division despite the managerial change and other tweaks to the roster. They also have quite a bit going against them in this series. The Phillies are dealing big names in every game. The Marlins will also be playing in their second doubleheader this week, and have another one on Monday. That's right, Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday are all twin bills for the Fish.

The Marlins have plenty of young stars, and leading the way is Mike Stanton. His power is as good as anyone's in the game, and it shows with his 30 home runs and 77 RBIs. Also leading the charge are Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison, and Emilio Bonifacio. Sanchez has a healthy .266 average and has hit 16 home runs and 64 RBIs. Morrison is coming off a trip to the minors, one that caused quite a stir around baseball. After all, this was twitter's favorite son. Morrison hasn't had a terrible season, hitting .249 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs. Bonifacio has one of the best averages on the team, hitting .284 with 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. But, being at the top of the order, he can cause quite a few problems on the bases.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series.

In the opener, Roy Oswalt (6-7, 3.51 ERA) goes against Clay Hensley (1-5, 5.47 ERA). Oswalt allowed eight hits in eight shutout innings against the Nationals his last time out. He has won his last two starts, his first two wins since June 12th. He faced the Marlins on April 15th, and took a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings. The Phillies lost that game, 4-3. In 15 career starts against the Marlins, Oswalt is 6-4 with a 3.72 ERA. Hensley allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Padres in his last start. He faced the Phillies as part of that April 15th loss, pitching 2/3 of an inning. In 17 career games, three of them starts, Hansley is 1-1 with a 2.94 ERA.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Roy Halladay (15-5, 2.56 ERA) takes on Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 4.01 ERA). Halladay was pulled from his last start after five innings due to a rain delay, allowing two runs. He took a no-decision in the Phillies' 5-4 loss. Halladay has faced the Marlins twice this season. Halladay took the loss in a game on May 10th, allowing two runs in eight innings in the Phillies' 2-1 loss to the Marlins. On June 15th, as part of another doubleheader, Halladay took a no-decision, allowing four runs over seven innings. The Phillies won that game, 5-4. In nine career starts, Halladay is 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA against the Marlins. Sanchez took a no-decision in his last start, allowing three runs over five inning against the Padres. Sanchez has faced the Phillies three times this season. He took a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings, in a 3-2 Phillies' win on April 17th. He took a no-decision on June 15th in the second game of a doubleheader, allowing two runs over seven innings of a Phillies' 5-4 win. On July 6th, he allowed five runs in four innings, taking a no-decision in a 7-6 Phillies' loss. In 14 career starts against the Phillies, Sanchez is 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Cliff Lee (14-7, 2.71) gets the start for the Phillies. The Marlins have yet to announce their starter for the nightcap of the twin bill. Lee allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings in a win over the Mets his last start. Lee has faced the Marlins twice this season. He allowed three runs in six innings on May 11th, taking a no-decision in a 5-3 Phillies' win. On June 16th, he pitched a three-hit shutout, as the Phillies won 3-0. In four career starts, Lee is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA.

Prediction:
August 26 – Phillies 7, Marlins 2
August 27 (Game 1) – Phillies 4, Marlins 2
August 27 (Game 2) – Phillies 5, Marlins 1

It is still to be determined just how much of this series really gets played, but if it does, the Phillies have the clear edge. The Marlins are a team that continue to struggle this season, losing seven of their last eight games and just 5-17 this month, and with the Phillies dealing three of their best, it would take a lot for the Marlins to take any of these games. I'm sure they are just thrilled at facing Halladay and Lee on the same day.

In the opener, Roy Oswalt won't have to repeat his performance against the Nationals, and with Clay Hensley on the mound, the Phillies should roll. The Phillies generally have a way of hitting the Marlins' pitchers, especially if they find a way to avoid the toughest the Marlins have. The Marlins' rotation is very depleted, especially with Josh Johnson shelved for the season. The Phillies get to face more pitchers like this with those kinds of injuries.

The doubleheader could very well go the Phillies way as well. First off, they have their top two pitchers going, but with so much familiarity against the Marlins pitching, and the rough schedule the Marlins have had to endure, it could be a long weekend if you're a Marlins' pitcher. The offense, which hasn't been much better, has also been part of a few blowout losses this month, so if the Phillies could jump on a few early chances, a couple of games this series could be laughers.

The Phillies hit the road after this series for seven games. They face the Cincinnati Reds for four games after this series, then head to Florida to face the Marlins again next weekend.