Phillies (14-17) vs. Marlins (9-22)
The Phillies had just three base-runners in Saturday's one-hit loss to Jose Fernandez and the Marlins (see story), and two of those runners were Freddy Galvis.
The Marlins' rookie pitcher pitched seven shutout innings and has yet to allow a run against the Phils in two starts this season.
Although the Phillies have struggled in the early goings to string together multiple wins, a win today would give them three of four against the struggling Marlins.
Roy Halladay will take the mound on Sunday for the Phils and look to rebound from his worst start of the season.
Halladay on the hill
Halladay seemed to be figuring things out before allowing eight earned runs in 3.2 innings in Cleveland.
The veteran right-hander strung together three more-than-solid starts after a rough start to the 2013 season.
Today's game against a would-be minor league linuep should provide a good opportunity for Halladay to get back on track.
Get Slowey out quick
Kevin Slowey might be the Marlins' strongest starting pitcher this season. He has posted a 2.15 ERA over six starts and allowed just one run against the Phillies on April 14. Although the Phils got nine hits off the right-hander in that start, Slowey continually pitched his way out of jams.
Slowey went eight innings against the Mets in his last start, but it was only the second time this season that he has gone more than six innings in a start. So, if the Phillies can work the count, they should get an opportunity to see the Marlins' bullpen.
Despite Slowey's strong ERA, the Marlins' hitters have had trouble scoring runs during his starts. They've scored just nine runs total during Slowey's starts.
The Phillies' bats haven't been able to get anything going consistently. They've already been shutout twice this month. But between those games, the Phillies scored 11 runs.
During the Charlie Manuel era, the Phillies have never allowed more runs than they've scored. But so far this season, Manuel's offense is on pace to do just that. They have allowed 133 runs amd scored 111.
The Phillies will need to be patient if they want get on base and drive Slowey's pitch count up. The Phillies' on-base percentage dropped below .300 to .298 after Saturday's loss.
Even though he struck out three times on Saturday, Ryan Howard has been swinging the bat better of late.
His average has risen to .280 on the season, but more importantly, he's starting to send some balls over the fence. He had one home run in each of the first two games of the four-game series.
However, both of those homers were solo shots.
Fighting for the East
The Phillies sit in third place in the NL East, four games back of Atlanta and two behind the Nationals.
But, if the Phils aren't careful, the Mets could overtake them. New York is in fourth place and has won two straight games.