MLB

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 - 4:05 PM ET
 

Marlins-Phillies Preview

Share This Story

   
 

There's a lot still out of the Philadelphia Phillies' control in their hopes of getting back in the NL wild-card race. They're doing an awfully good job taking care of their part, however.

Back at .500 for the first time since early June, the red-hot Phillies look to win a season-high seventh straight game and wrap up a sweep of the visiting Miami Marlins on Wednesday.

The Phillies (71-71) have been as many as 14 games below .500, and they were 12 games out of the NL's second wild-card spot as recently as Aug. 17.

Suddenly that deficit - one they share with Milwaukee - is down to four, albeit with Los Angeles and Pittsburgh to pass before getting to St. Louis. But after winning for the 14th time in 18 games Tuesday with a 9-7 victory over Miami - and reaching .500 for the first time since June 4 - it seems like anything's possible with three weeks left.

Next up after Wednesday? Four at major league-worst Houston and three with the woeful New York Mets.

"You hear it's a cliche that this is what you play for, for September, but it's true,'' Jimmy Rollins said after hitting his team-high 18th homer. "We have a lot of flags but we don't have a wild-card flag, so this would be a good time.''

Cliff Lee (4-7, 3.50 ERA) has been as big a part of the recent surge as anyone, giving up a total of three runs while Philadelphia has won his last three starts. Lee didn't get the decision in his latest, when he allowed two runs in the first but wound up pitching 6 1-3 innings in Friday's 3-2 win over Colorado.

It's been a difficult season for Lee, who has just one home victory, but his worst outing of 2012 came against the team he'll face Wednesday. The left-hander gave up six runs in a season-low 4 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at Miami on June 29.

Lee went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts against the Marlins (63-80) last season, going nine innings in both outings at Citizens Bank Park.

Josh Johnson (8-11, 3.81) beat Lee in late June, holding the Phillies to one run and four hits over six innings. However, he was a tough-luck loser in a 1-0 defeat Aug. 14 after pitching eight innings.

His lone 2012 outing in Philadelphia didn't go nearly as well. Johnson gave up 11 runs and six hits - both tied for season highs - in just 3 2-3 innings of a 7-1 defeat April 11.

The right-hander has been impressive of late, posting a 2.76 ERA over his last nine starts, and earned his first win in six outings Thursday thanks to some long-awaited run support. Johnson held Milwaukee to two runs and four hits over seven innings in a 6-2 victory.

"He started the season very rough because he hadn't pitched in a while,'' Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "After that he got the momentum going. You look up and he's had a great year if you look at it that way, compared to last year.''

Johnson's road ERA is still ugly - 5.22 compared to a 2.87 mark at home - but he's had little trouble with some of the Phillies' top hitters this season. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz are a combined 0 for 12 with six strikeouts against Johnson.

Philadelphia is just happy to have Ruiz back in the lineup for its stretch run. The All-Star catcher, who spent five weeks on the DL battling plantar fasciitis, started Tuesday for the first time since Aug. 2 and reached base three times.

Tagged: Phillies, Marlins, Cliff Lee, Josh Johnson

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..