MIAMI — The Philadelphia Phillies have been out of any playoff race for months.
The Miami Marlins, due to a season-high-tying five-game losing streak that they finally snapped with a 10-9 win over the Phillies on Saturday, have shown that they are not ready to contend, either.
So when Philadelphia and Miami conclude a four-game series on Sunday afternoon inside Marlins Park, both teams will be experimenting with certain players with an eye toward 2018.
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Sunday’s pitching matchup calls for a pair of right-handers: Jose Urena (12-6, 3.84 ERA) for the Marlins and Jake Thompson (1-1, 5.40 ERA) for the Phillies.
Thompson, 23, has made six appearances in the majors this year, including three starts. At Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, Thompson went 5-14 with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.546 WHIP in 22 starts.
“He didn’t have a very good season at Triple-A,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Thompson. “But he has pitched relatively well for us the couple of times he’s been up here.
“(Thompson) has the pitches to be successful. He’s young. … Young pitchers are hard to figure out. It takes time for them to get acclimated.”
The Marlins are hoping that rookie third baseman Brian Anderson continues to get himself acclimated. He went 1-for-3 with a diving catch when he made his major league debut on Friday. On Saturday, he again went 1-for-3 and added two walks.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Anderson and pitcher Dillon Peters, who also made his big-league debut on Friday — tossing seven scoreless innings — justified the faith the organization has placed in them.
“They weren’t overmatched,” Mattingly said. “Brian has a swing that is short and compact. He’s got a good eye up there. He laid off some balls on Friday night. He’s a good defender.
“I’m not sure if everyone thinks he is totally ready to play every day or not, but this will be a nice opportunity for the next month to see what we have.”
The Marlins are pretty sure they have something good in Urena, 25, who leads the team in wins and has stepped to the top of their starting rotation.
He hasn’t pitched poorly at home, posting a 3.36 ERA. But the wins haven’t come as often as he would like at Marlins Park, where Urena is only 4-5. He is 8-1 with a 4.36 ERA on the road.
Urena is 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA in eight career appearances against the Phillies, including four starts. In one start this year against them, Urena is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA, allowing three runs, two earned, in five innings.
Durability could be an issue for Urena this month. In 2015, Urena pitched 143 1/3 innings, splitting between the minors and majors. Last season, he pitched 142 innings. This year, Urena, who turns 26 on Sept. 12, has already logged 133 2/3 innings.
It will be interesting to see not only how Urena fares on Sunday but also if the Marlins shut him down at some point in September to protect his young arm or if they allow him to make five or six starts, as per normal in a month.