Preview: Marlins take on Phillies looking to surpass .500 for 1st time in nearly 4 months
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — After sweeping a Tuesday doubleheader against Philadelphia, the Miami Marlins bats will look to stay hot against Phillies righty Mark Leiter Jr. on Wednesday.
Miami (62-62) has finally reached the .500 mark for the season behind the bats of Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Yelich said. “Five-hundred doesn’t really get you anything. It’s a long way from where we started a few months ago, but we haven’t really been checking the standings, checking the record. It’s been a mentality for the last few months of ‘just win tonight’ or ‘just win today.'”
Yelich’s five RBIs on Tuesday give him 67 for the season and seven in his past three games.
After mashing six home runs over two games on Tuesday, Miami will look to keep the runs coming early and often. Because the Marlins knocked out Philadelphia starter Nick Pivetta in the second inning of the Tuesday nightcap, the Phillies’ bullpen will be short-staffed if Leiter struggles or finds himself in a high pitch count early on Wednesday.
And it certainly could happen. Leiter (1-3, 4.38 ERA) hasn’t gone six innings in a game since June 23, when he pitched six shutout innings in a Phillies road win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 23-year-old has only eclipsed 100 pitches once this season, back on June 28.
The Phillies used six relievers on Tuesday, including two appearances from righty Jesen Therrien, three innings from Edubray Ramos and two innings from Adam Morgan, so it will be interesting to see who manager Peter Mackanin makes available on Wednesday.
“Tough day for the Phillies,” Mackanin said after the doubleheader. “Pivetta just didn’t have it, put our bullpen in a bind. Relievers pitched very well.”
The Phillies’ offense gave the pitching staff more than enough to work with Tuesday in 12-8 and 7-4 defeats. Philadelphia out-homered Miami 8-6 in the two games. Mackanin knows that his squad can’t continue to squander opportunities like that the rest of the series.
“It’s a shame we hit all those home runs, but just didn’t do enough,” he said.
Marlins starter Justin Nicolino (2-1, 4.11 ERA) enters his Wednesday start on the heels of one of his best outings of season. He pitched five innings of one-run baseball in a 3-1 road win over the New York Mets on Friday. Nicolino will look to win a third start in a row for the first time in his three-year career.
Miami manager Don Mattingly’s bullpen appears fresher than Mackanin’s, thanks in part to six solid innings from Dan Straily in Game 1 on Tuesday.
“We were able to kind of keep (relievers Brad) Ziegler and (Kyle Barraclough) and those guys out of the game early, which allowed us to use ‘Clough for two (innings) tonight,” Mattingly said. “We scored early, that was good, too.”
Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton enters the game with a league-leading 46 home runs. He needs one RBI to reach the century mark for the first time since 2014.