After being humiliated and beaten down at the hands of the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies could take solace in the fact that the next series on the schedule was a four-game set at home against the Miami Marlins.
In reality and on paper, the Phillies really couldn’t have asked for a better team to face in order to regain their winning momentum. On the season, the Marlins have scored the least amount of runs in both the NL and AL, have the lowest batting average in both leagues at just .224, the lowest slugging percentage at .315 and the second lowest on base percentage at .284.
Adding these horrid stats to the fact that the Phillies, coming into this series, were 2-1 against the Marlins and had held them to just four total runs in those three games, there were reasons for Philadelphia to be optimistic.
And when the series started, everything seemed to be holding to form. Behind Kyle Kendrick, who has emerged as the team’s top ace this season, and home runs from power sluggers Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown, the Phillies won game one by a final score of 7-2.
In game two, the Phillies sent Jonathan Pettibone to the mound, who had pitched well in his only two previous starts. Pettibone lasted a career high 6.1 innings, allowing just one run on five hits. For the second time in three total starts, Pettibone also walked none. He was backed up by a trio of home runs including Chase Utley‘s sixth of the season and the fifth for both Howard and Brown, who knocked the ball out of the park for the second time in as many days.
Coming off of two solid victories that saw the Phillies win with consistent offense and pitching, game three looked to tell a similar story. Cole Hamels was on the mound and despite having only one win on the season, he had been pitching well. To his credit, Hamels pitched well again, yielding just two runs to the Marlins. Unfortunately though, this was one of those games where the Phillies offense just took an off day, giving the game to Miami by a score of 2-0.
Hoping to rebound and win the series, the Phillies sent Roy Halladay to the mound amidst loads of optimism. After all, in the Marlins, he would be facing a team he had beaten seven times in 12 career starts and the team in which he threw a perfect game against.
For Halladay, though, the tale of his decline continued. He surrendered nine runs in just over two innings including a grand slam and a bases clearing triple.
In all, the Phillies allowed the Marlins to score a season high 14 runs which also translated to five more than what the team had previously scored in the six games they had played against Philadelphia.
So while the Phillies did manage to salvage a series split, it wasn’t at all what they had hoped for. The Marlins really are the bottom of the barrel in the NL, and winning two of four really isn’t good enough, especially as the Phillies try to compete the best in the NL East.
In short, the Phillies’ blueprint against the Marlins did not hold to plan.