December 2, 2023

Fluky Fish and Deadline Drama — Series Preview: Phillies at Marlins, July 31 – August 3


Photo via The Philly Voice

We are under twenty-four hours away from the trade deadline, and both of these teams will look vastly different at the end of the four-game set compared to the beginning. The Marlins have already picked up former Mets’ closer David Robertson, who notched his first save with Miami when the Marlins picked up a series win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

As of now, the Phillies are just .5 games back of the third Wild Card spot, and the Miami Marlins—despite being winners in just four of their last ten games—are tied with the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card standings. With both teams in contention and looking to make additions, this NL-East battle is bound to be exciting but has the potential to be season-changing for both teams.

The Phillies, in particular, recognized that acquiring a rental bat will not fix their problems. After the Phillies’ loss to the Pirates on Sunday, Bryce Harper told reporters that “[w]hen talent doesn’t play well or play smart, you get beat.”

Skipper Rob Thomson added to Harper’s comments: “I’ve seen is play better, that’s for sure… We made some fundamental mistakes—communication on pop-ups, we’ve seen that a few times this year. Base-running mistakes. We have to clean it all up, and we will.”

Last Time They Met

When the Phils and Marlins squared off in the final series before the All-Star game, things were looking up for the Phillies. They had come off a huge, tone-setting sweep of the then-first-place Tampa Bay Rays, and in game one in Miami, Christian Pache hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth, propelling the Phillies to a game-one victory.

But in typical Phillies fashion, they could not keep the good vibes going for the final two games of the first half. Bad defense, a lack of hitting with runners in scoring positions, and a rocky start by Ranger Suarez lost the Phillies game two. A day later, aiming for a series win, the Marlins’ offense pounded Aaron Nola, who allowed three home runs in six innings of work, and the Marlins rode into the break with a series win.

Castellanos Gets Breather in Game One

Everyone, including himself, knows Nick Castellanos needs a breather. “I think teams are just not wanting to throw me strikes because I’m anxious and I want to hit so bad that I’m not letting myself get anything to hit,” Nick Castellanos told the media. “Just been no good, man… It’s been bad.”

Since the All-Star break, Castellanos has just six hits in 70 at-bats (.117) and has struck out 21 times while walking just once. His average for the season has dropped to .273 and his OPS is down to .760. In the Pirates series, he swung and missed at a combined 13 pitches and recorded just one hit. “Bad,” evidently, may be an understatement.

With Castellanos out of the lineup, Alec Bohm slides into the two-hole, something many Phillies fans have been hoping to get a taste of. Bohm is tied for the team lead in RBI with 65 and has put together a solid offensive season with a .284 average and .757 OPS in 345 at-bats. He has hit at the bottom of the lineup all season, which has been effective, given his .355 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Here’s how the Phillies will line up for game one:

  1. Kyle Schwarber LF
  2. Alec Bohm 3B
  3. Bryce Harper DH
  4. J.T. Realmuto C
  5. Bryson Stott 2B
  6. Trea Turner SS
  7. Brandon Marsh RF
  8. Jake Cave 1B
  9. Johan Rojas CF

Standout Stats

In their careers, Marlins’ Jon Berti and Bryan De La Cruz are hitting .438 and .471, respectively, against Phillies’ game one starter Taijuan Walker.

As a team, the Marlins have hit the curveball well in 2023. Against curveballs, Dane Meyers is slugging .769, Luis Arraez has a .424 batting average, and Garrett Hampson has an average of .400.

Since 2022, Kyle Schwarber’s hard hit percentage has dropped by 8.4%, which is now the eight-most significant drop in all of MLB.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, July 31, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Tueaday, August 1, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, August 2, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday, August 3, at 12:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Taijuan Walker (RHP, 11-4, 4.06 ERA) vs. Edward Cabrera (RHP, 5-6, 4.74 ERA)

Game 2: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 2-5, 4.22 ERA) vs. TBD

Game 3: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 8-5, 3.74 ERA) vs. TBD

Game 4: Aaron Nola (RHP, 9-7, 4.43 ERA) vs. TBD

By the Numbers

  • Run Differential
  • Phillies: 8
  • Marlins: -21
  • Runs Scored Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.48
  • Marlins: 4.11
  • Runs Allowed Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.40
  • Marlins: 4.31

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