Phillies-Marlins Preview

Unlike the Philadelphia Phillies’ three best starters, Vance

Worley won’t be a part of next week’s Midsummer Classic.

The 23-year-old, however, was compared to his All-Star teammates

following another impressive display his last time out.

The visiting Phillies send Worley to the hill as they look to

continue their recent domination of the Florida Marlins when the

teams begin a three-game set Monday night.

Major league-leading Philadelphia (53-32), which had won five of

six entering Sunday, lost 7-4 at Toronto as Cliff Lee yielded seven

runs in 7 1-3 innings, bringing his 34 scoreless-inning streak to

an end.

Despite that surprising result, Lee will join Roy Halladay and

Cole Hamels at the All-Star game, marking the first time in

franchise history that three Phillies pitchers will attend the

annual affair.

“It’s pretty cool,” Hamels told the Phillies’ official website.

“It’s an honor just to be in that sort of caliber of pitchers. What

we’re doing right now, we’re just trying to be the best. Obviously,

it’s showing that we’re capable of it.”

While Worley (3-1, 2.57 ERA) hasn’t garnered the attention that

Philadelphia’s trio of aces has received, he’s more than held his

own in what is widely considered baseball’s best rotation.

The right-hander, who has allowed one run or fewer in five of

seven starts this year, gave up one and five hits during a

season-best seven innings of Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over Boston,

improving to 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his last three games.

“He looked like he’s been around for a long time,” Boston’s

David Ortiz said. “He’s got good command, you know, and, man, he

looked like one of those big starters they have right there.

“…He’s got the best pitching staff around him. A smart guy

takes advantage of it, tries to learn, talks to those guys and sees

what they’re thinking when they’re pitching.”

Worley will try to help the Phillies extend their five-game win

streak in this series, during which they’ve outscored Florida 30-9.

Philadelphia, 7-2 versus the Marlins (38-46) this season, has taken

16 of the last 19 matchups.

Florida has lost 19 of 23 to the Phillies at home but will

likely carry some momentum from its latest series as it opens a

seven-game stretch at Sun Life Stadium.

The Marlins sit in last place in the NL East but wrapped up

their recently completed nine-game trip by taking four of five,

including back-to-back wins over Texas. After matching its highest

run total of the year during Saturday’s 9-5 victory, Florida

prevailed 6-4 on Sunday in its first come-from-behind win since

Jack McKeon took over as interim manager June 20.

“We’re playing with a lot more energy,” McKeon said. The guys

are feeling happy and they’re enjoying themselves, having fun and

playing relaxed. Everybody’s filling in for each other. That might

be the turning point of the season, who knows?”

Strong starting pitching hasn’t been a common trend for the

Marlins, whose rotation ranks in the bottom third of baseball with

a 4.26 ERA. Florida’s rotation, however, has been much better of

late, allowing two runs or less in 10 of 13 games.

Ricky Nolasco (5-4, 4.08) has compiled a 1.69 ERA over two

outings during that stretch – a complete turnaround from the 8.20

mark he posted over his previous five starts.

The right-hander, who threw a five-hitter in Wednesday’s 3-0 win

at Oakland, has been very good against Philadelphia, going 5-1 with

a 2.75 ERA in eight meetings since 2008.