|Phillies looking to pounce against lowly Marlins|
The Philadelphia Phillies, embroiled in a fight for one of two National League wild-card playoff spots, can read the schedule. They know the Miami Marlins - the team with the worst record in the league - are next, starting on Friday night, and they are surely thinking sweep.
After all, the Phillies head to Miami on a mini roll, having swept a brief two-game series at the Boston Red Sox.
Miami, meanwhile, is just happy to be back home at Marlins Park, where their 25-39 record is bad, but at least it's better than their road mark of 20-42.
In fact, the Marlins just concluded their second straight 0-6 road trip. The 12 straight road losses ties a club record, and they are just the second franchise in MLB's modern era to go 0-6 or worse on consecutive trips within the same season.
Miami lost 3-2 to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday as Ronald Acuna had a walk-off hit.
"Wins are getting hard to come by," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after the Braves completed the season series by taking 14 of 19 from Miami. "There are a number of teams that have pumped us pretty good."
Oddly, though, the Phillies are just 6-7 against the Marlins this year, and they hope to change that trend on Friday when they send right-hander Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.35 ERA) to the mound.
Miami will counter with right-hander Hector Noesi (0-3, 9.39 ERA).
Velasquez is 3-4 with a 4.56 ERA since rejoining Philadelphia's rotation in June. However, he has lasted more than 5 2/3 innings just once in that span.
In 13 career starts against the Marlins, Velasquez is 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA. However, he has yet to win at Marlins Park, going 0-3 with a 4.40 ERA in six starts. In two starts at Marlins Park this year, he is 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA.
Other than Marlins Park, Velasquez's overall home/road splits are not a factor. He has a 4.22 ERA at home this year and just a bit higher (4.42) on the road.
Noesi, a 32-year-old journeyman, has never faced the Phillies in his six-year major-league career, going a combined 12-34 with a 5.46 ERA for five franchises.
Before this season, Noesi hadn't pitched in the majors since 2015, when he went 0-4 with the Chicago White Sox. He hasn't won a major-league game since Aug. 27, 2014.
And in his three major-league starts this season, Noesi has allowed at least five runs each time. In 15 1/3 innings, he has given up six home runs.
Noesi will have to deal with a lineup that includes Phillies star right fielder Bryce Harper as well as slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins and ex-Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Harper has 27 homers and 92 RBIs, Hoskins has 24 homers and 70 RBIs, and Realmuto has 19 homers and 66 RBIs.
On Wednesday, in a 5-2 win at Boston, Hoskins hit leadoff, Harper - who blasted a two-run homer - batted second, and Realmuto was in the No. 3 hole.
Right before Harper hit that homer, Boston fans were yelling "overrated" at the highly paid star.
"He's good at that - shutting (fans) up," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Harper. "They were on him pretty good up until that (homer). I'm really happy for Bryce."
--Field Level Media