(Coral Gables, FL) - After a disappointing 1-2 in a three game set with the Washington Nationals the Philadelphia Phillies are heading on the road for a three game set with the Florida Marlins.
For the Phillies a three game set with the NL East third ranked Florida Marlins is coming at the worst time. The Phillies are 25-31 on the road this season and with the Marlins only four games back of the Phillies for second place in the division the Fightin's will need to gain ground in Florida if they want to catch up to the Atlanta Braves.
As I mentioned a week ago the Phillies have become the walking wounded . The team is still weeks away from getting Chase Utley back from a surgically repaired thumb, Shane Victorino is on the 15-day DL and to top it all off the Phillies are now putting Ryan Howard as day-to-day after he rolled his ankle as second base in yesterdays 6-4 extra inning win against the Washington Nationals.
The Phillies are sitting two and a half games back of the division leading Braves and are in the midst of a nine game stretch against divisional opponents. Luckily for the Phillies their pitching match-ups for the division side in their favor.
Game 1: Roy Halladay (12-8) v. Sean West (0-0)
Phillies ace Roy Hallady starts off the series against an unknown foe in Sean West. West has been called up from AAA-New Orleans where he was 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA. Halladay has done substantially well against the Marlins this season going 2-1 1.08 ERA, and oh, yeah one of those wins was a perfect game.
Halladay has controlled Marlins hitters as Hanley Ramirez, Cody Ross and Dan Uggla have gone a combined 10-40 against Halladay with eight strikeouts.
With the Phillies repleted lineup they will need to rely on players like Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins. Werth is hitting a lowly .182 against the Marlins, most of that on his much publicized hitting slump. Rollins, who has historically hit well against Florida will get his first outing against the Marlins as he was out of the previous series nursing his injured calf.
Game 2: Kyle Kendrick (6-4) v. Anibal Sanchez (8-6)
Sanchez is coming off a strong one-hit outing against the San Francisco Giants and looks to do the same against the Phillies. He is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA this season against the Phillies and has averaged on six and a third innings per outings against the Phillies.
Kendrick is 1-0 against the Marlins and has pitched pretty well since his three day stint in the minor leagues. In his last two starts he has pitched 13 1/3 innings recording eight strikeouts and has held opposing batters to only 10 hits.
The key to this game will be the run support Kendrick gets. If you look at his season numbers when the Phillies hit Kendrick shines.
Game 3: Roy Oswalt (6-13) v. Chris Volstad (5-8)
In the final game of this three game set all eyes will be on the newly acquired Roy Oswalt. After a not so stellar outing in his Phillies debut where he allowed five runs on seven hits in only six innings of work, Oswalt will look to redeem himself with the Phillies faithful.
The only thing that could hurt Oswalt are his career numbers at Sun Life Stadium. In three games at the Marlins Roy Oswalt is 0-2 with one no decision. In 2009 he was drilled for 10 runs in only six innings of work and the year before he was 0-2 with an 11.2 ERA.
Dan Uggla has suffered against the new Phillies going 2-15 with an .133 batting average, striking out five times.
As you can see, other then the Kendrick v. Sanchez match-up, the series could look very positive for the Phillies. It will be important for the Phillies to get wins in the series because as the number two and three teams in the NL face each other the Braves will attempt to distance themselves as they take on the sinking New York Mets.
The Phillies have an off say Monday with game one starting Tuesday night and hopefully that full day of rest will allow Ryan Howard's ankle to heal and possibly make him eligible for games two and three.
Now that its August it is time for the Phillies to make one of their historical late season runs towards the playoffs. With Utley weeks away things are looking up but the Phillies are definitely showing signs of late season wear. Lets just hope, for our sake, all of the injury setbacks are behind them.