Phillies (1-3) vs. Marlins (2-3)7:05 p.m. -- PHL17
Roy Halladay (1-0) faces the challenge of limiting a tough Marlins offense, outdueling Miami ace Josh Johnson and ending the Phillies three-game losing streak. But thats what stoppers are for. Halladay allowed just four baserunners in eight shutout innings in the season-opener in Pittsburgh. His hit total (two) is the same as his hit-by-pitch total.
The Phillies oppose Johnson, the mostly unhittable but often unhealthy 6-foot-7 righthander. Johnson has a 2.20 ERA since the start of 2010 in exactly 250 innings, but he has missed 30 starts over that span with various arm injuries. Johnson didnt have his usual stuff in the Marlins season-opener against the Cardinals, allowing three runs and 12 baserunners (10 hits) over six innings. Johnsons batted-ball splits were ugly 10 of the 32 balls put in play against him were line drives.
The Phillies turned in an uninspired performance in the home-opener against Marlins righty Anibal Sanchez. The Phils scored just two runs both on a seventh-inning Freddy Galvis double on six hits. Cole Hamels had strikeout stuff (nine over 5.1 innings), but allowed three doubles and a home run in taking the loss.
The Phillies are 25-12 against the Marlins since the start of 2010. Halladay is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts vs. Miami, with nearly 10 times as many strikeouts (69) as walks (seven).
Only two Marlins hitters have gotten the best of Halladay in his career. Jose Reyes, who has had the most success off Halladay since Doc moved to the NL, is 12 for 29 (.414) with three doubles and two triples. Gaby Sanchez is 7 for 24 with two homers.
The Phils have struggled to solve Johnsons hard, heavy sinker. Ryan Howard has hit .303 with three homers off Johnson, but hes out indefinitely recovering from Achilles surgery. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are a combined 18 for 63 (.286) against the 28-year-old. Pete Orr is 6 for 15 (all singles) against Johnson in his career, so he may steal a start from Galvis at second base.
Hunter Pence hasnt disappointed out of the cleanup spot like many around him have. Pence has driven in three of the Phillies eight runs and has two of their four extra-base hits. Carlos Ruiz is 4 for 10 on the season and Shane Victorino is 4 for 13 with two steals.
For the Fish, how about Omar Infante? The super utility man homered twice in Mondays home-opener and, with three homers, a triple and a double, has more extra-base hits on the season than the entire Phillies roster.
Broken record, but the Phillies offense. The Phils enter Wednesdays game hitting .198 as a team. The first base contingent of John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton is 4 for 25.
The Marlins are without manager Ozzie Guillen, who was suspended five games by major league baseball on Tuesday for saying in a recent interview of the former Cuban dictator, I love Fidel Castro . . . I respect Fidel Castro . . . for surviving when a lot of people have wanted to kill him.
The Phillies are riding a three-game losing streak. From Opening Day until Sept. 10 last season, the Phils had just two three-game losing streaks.
Halladay and Johnson have squared off three times since 2010. The first meeting, you may have heard about Roy Halladay threw a perfect game in a 1-0 win. The next encounter, two weeks later, was won by the Marlins, 2-0. Then the aces met on May 10 last season in a 2-1 Marlins win. Three games, a combined score of Marlins 4, Phillies 2. Can Halladay even up the personal series?
Can the offense succeed against one of the best pitchers in the game, or are the Phils bats at least another game away from getting on track?
E-mail Corey Seidman at firstname.lastname@example.org.