December 2, 2023

Let’s Sweep in South Beach—Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, July 7 – 9


Steve Nesius/AP Photo

Around this time last year, the Phillies picked up a momentous series sweep in Miami that propelled them into the all-star break. Little did they know, their post-all-star-game performances led them all the way to the World Series, capping off a magical 2022 season for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2009, a year where the Phillies won 93 games and made it back to the World Series after winning it in 2008, the Phillies also picked up a series sweep around this time in Miami, with this one being right after the all-star break.

Now, in 2023, the Phillies have a chance to do it again.

To round out the first half of the season, the red-hot Phillies will take on the 51-38 Miami Marlins, who are 2.5 games in front of the Phillies for second place in the National League East. With a sweep, the Phillies would extend their road winning streak to a franchise-record 15 straight games, while also moving into second place in the NL East, and potentially, into first place in the Wild Card standings, depending on the outcome of the Dodgers-Angels intrastate series.

Last Time They Met

The Phils and Marlins have not yet since the fourth series of the regular season all the way back in April. The Phillies came into the series with a 3-6 record, while the Marlins—who had an equally rough start to the season—were 4-6 before the start of the series. Ultimately, the Marlins took two of three from the struggling Phillies in what was a very disappointing series for Philadelphia fans.

In the first game, the Phillies posted 15 runs in a game started by Marlins’ Cy-Young winner Sandy Alcantara. Treat Turner, Christian Pache, Nick Castellanos (3), Alec Bohm (6), Brandon Marsh (3), and Jake Cave all recorded an RBI. Phillies relievers Matt Strahm and Andrew Vasquez threw a combined 7.2 scoreless innings. Things were looking up for the Phillies, especially with aces Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler in line to pitch games two and three.

Easy sweep, right? Not so much.

Phillies pitching imploded in the late innings of game two, and the bats were unable to back Zack Wheeler’s six innings of one-run baseball in game three. Suddenly, the Phillies witnessed a momentum-driven, double-digit victory in game one turn into a demotivating series loss to the Marlins just two days later.

Even though the current standings look very similar to how they did after the Phils and Fish met in April, a lot has happened since. The Marlins and Phillies were two of the best teams in baseball in the month of June, with the Marlins going 19-8 and the Phils going 18-8. The Marlins, who are now 3-3 in July, have won six of their last ten, and the Phillies have won eight of their last ten.

Ted Williams Who?

You cannot talk, read, or write about the 2023 Marlins season without noting the impact of second baseman Luis Arraez. The 2022 American League Batting Title recipient is looking for an encore, but not just any encore—with his .388 batting average, Arraez has brought the chase to a .400 batting average into July, and there’s no turning back now.

Arraez also leads Major League Baseball in hits and on-base percentage, and he is in the 100th percentile in strikeout percentage and Whiff percentage. Even though he has a barrel rate in just the fourth percentile, Arraez has a special ability to make contact and guide where he hits the ball, making him an invaluable asset to any team.

If Arraez is able to end the season hitting .400 or better, he will be the first to do so since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

An Opportunity for the Aces

Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler both received NL Cy Young votes last year, and less than one year later, they both have ERAs north of 4.00.

Nola, who has had the steeper struggles this season, is coming off arguably his best start this year, where he allowed one run and struck out twelve in 7.1 innings against the Rays, one of baseball’s most lethal offenses. Nola’s ERA dipped by nearly .3 points, and now, he has an opportunity to continue on this path back to being an ace.

Zack Wheeler, on the other hand, has had a very up-and-down 2023 season. He has allowed a combined nine earned runs in his last 10.1 innings, yet he allowed just two earned runs in the prior 19.1 innings of work. In his final start before the break, it is crucial for Wheeler to get back on track so that he is sharp toward the end of 2023.

Zack Wheeler will start game one, and Aaron Nola will start game three.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, July 7, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, July 8, at 4:10pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, July 9, at 1:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 7-4, 4.03 ERA) vs. Sandy Alcantara (RHP, 3-7, 4.93 ERA)

Game 2: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 2-3, 3.67 ERA) vs. Braxton Garrett (LHP, 4-2, 3.61 ERA)

Game 3: Aaron Nola (RHP, 8-5, 4.30 ERA) vs. Jesus Luzardo (LHP, 7-5, 3.32 ERA)

By the Numbers

  • Run Differential
  • Phillies: 14
  • Marlins: -10
  • Runs Scored Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.55
  • Marlins: 4.17
  • Runs Allowed Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.38
  • Marlins: 4.28

Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: