The Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching staff has been one of the worst in baseball this year, though they’ve thrived against the weak-hitting Miami Marlins.
They hope that trend continues in this three-game series beginning Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Philadelphia (56-94) is on pace for its worst finish since the 1945 team went 46-108. The club has dropped 20 of its last 26 and six in a row, marking its fifth losing streak of at least six games. The longest was a nine-game slide June 8-17.
Despite being eight games behind Miami (64-86), the Phillies own an 8-5 advantage in the season series, winning seven of the last eight. Philadelphia has posted a 3.55 ERA versus the Marlins, who are last in the NL with an average of 3.7 runs, compared to a 4.99 mark against every other team.
The problem for the Phillies in being swept this past weekend in Atlanta was offense, however, as they lost each game 2-1.
"We’ve been concerned about our starting pitcher the whole season," said Pete Mackanin, who was handed the Phillies managerial job for 2016 hours before this game. "Now we get three outstanding performances and we can’t score a run."
Miami came up short in clutch situations in dropping the last three of its four-game series at Washington, going 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position.
Philadelphia hasn’t officially named a starter yet, though Aaron Harang (5-15, 5.04 ERA) seems likely. He’s in the midst of a terrible season, but fared well in his lone start against the Marlins, allowing two runs and two hits over seven innings in a 4-2 win on Aug. 22.
The veteran right-hander hasn’t pitched since allowing three runs in five innings of a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 13. He was 0-1 with an 8.04 ERA over his previous three starts.
Harang’s opponent OPS of .802 is the second worst in the NL and his fielding-independent pitching of 4.74 is third worst. He has not won on the road since May 4, and has an 8.29 ERA in his last six away from Philadelphia.
Miami’s Tom Koehler (10-13, 3.90) has held his last three opponents to 14 hits while posting a 2.25 ERA. He’s walked 11 batters over 20 innings in that span but has bottled up hitters with runners in scoring position, holding opponents to a .154 average in those situations compared to .316 previously this season.
The right-hander has a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Phillies this season, yielding three runs over six innings in a 3-1 road loss on July 18.
While Harang has struggled on the road, Koehler is 5-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 12 home starts.
Dee Gordon is batting .433 during a seven-game hitting streak and .389 in the season series, while Martin Prado has 14 RBIs and is batting .392 with 13 RBIs in his last 14 contests overall. He’s expected to return after missing three games due to a wrist injury.
However, Gordon is 2 for 11 lifetime against Harang while Prado is batting .160 in 25 at-bats against him.