Phillies-Marlins: What you need to know

Phillies-Marlins: What you need to know
May 21, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Phillies (21-24) at Marlins (13-32)

7:10 p.m. – CSN

When you’re getting 1.6 runs of support per game, you won’t be winning too many starts unless you’re close to perfect. Cole Hamels is experiencing that right now, as the Phillies have scored a grand total of 13 runs with him on the mound over his last eight starts.

On Monday, that led to another strange loss to the Miami Marlins, who are now 4-4 against the Phillies and 9-28 against all other teams. If you can’t beat a team full of guys that wouldn’t be in the majors if they were a part of any other organization, you don’t have any business thinking about contending. Yes, baseball is different from other sports in that randomness plays a much larger role, but still … the Marlins have a .500 winning percentage against the Phils and a .243 winning percentage against everyone else.

Sunday’s exuberance led right into Monday’s frustration, which has been a common theme for this 2013 team – one step forward, two steps back.

Tonight, they face Jose Fernandez, who has absolutely baffled the Phillies but been hittable against every other team he’s faced.

Third time’s the charm?
Fernandez against the Phillies: 0.00 ERA in 13 innings, .071 opponents’ batting average.

Fernandez against all other teams: 4.91 ERA, .261 opponents’ batting average.

The Phillies are 3 for 42 off Fernandez in two starts. He has tremendous talent and upside, but he isn’t “there” yet.

Fernandez is a strike-thrower with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp, biting curve in the mid-high 80s and a changeup that he’s used more against the Phillies than against most other teams.

Charlie Manuel commented after Fernandez shut the Phillies down a few weeks ago at Citizens Bank Park that he was better then than he was the first time they faced him in Miami. But at some point, something has to give, right?

The only Phillie who has seen Fernandez well is Freddy Galvis, who is 2 for 4 with a walk and two hard-hit outs against him. Galvis has 67 percent of the Phillies’ hits off the 20-year-old right-hander. However, Galvis will not start in Tuesday's game with Ryan Howard back in the lineup.

Cloyd’s second start
Tyler Cloyd is back up with the Phillies to make his second start of the season. He was very impressive two weekends ago in Arizona, holding the Diamondbacks to two runs over 6 1/3 innings. Cloyd allowed just five men to reach base and really buckled down with runners on base.

Cloyd should feel right at home in Miami tonight because the team he’s facing is essentially a minor-league squad that also has Greg Dobbs and Placido Polanco.


Middle relief woes continue
Last night’s debacle put the Phillies into 27th place in the majors in bullpen ERA, at 4.63. That is a telling stat, considering Jonathan Papelbon hasn’t even been scored on since his first appearance.

The Phils’ ‘pen has had the highest WHIP in the National League for much of the season and has struggled to strand inherited runners.

Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes (who was optioned to Triple A last week) have allowed 39 earned runs in 51 innings. Phillipe Aumont has allowed 30 baserunners in 13 innings for a 2.08 WHIP.

The leash on these guys can’t possibly be much longer, since none of them have produced consistently for even as long as a week. It says something about the confidence the Phils have in their middle relief corps when Justin De Fratus comes up from Triple A and is instantly thrust into late-inning duty.