The Florida Marlins captured an exciting 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the series opener, as both teams get ready for a second contest at Sun Life Stadium
Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Marlins
Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay outlasted Florida’s Josh Johnson in a premiere pitching matchup last night, but ultimately dropped a 2-1 decision at Sun Life Stadium Monday night. “We had a guy on the ropes,” said shortstop Jimmy Rollins about leaving the bases full in the second and third innings. “That would have been a good way to blow the game open.” The Phillies have still won 11 of their last 14 against the Marlins, but are hitting just .226 in scoring 12 runs over their last five games overall. Outfielder Raul Ibanez is not one of the slumping players, going 14 for 30 with two home runs and five RBIs over his last eight games. Philadelphia is 14-8 versus NL East opponents this year, hitting .274 and posting a 3.00 ERA in the process.
Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee is 2-3 with a 3.69 ERA in seven starts this season and comes in seeking his first win since April 20. The left-hander was handed a 5-0 home loss to the Braves last time out despite striking out a season-high 16 batters. Lee has posted a 1-2 record and 4.66 ERA in three road starts, issuing just three walks and striking out 27 batters in 19.1 frames. In two previous starts versus the Marlins, he is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA, including picking up a win in his only start at Sun Life Stadium by giving up three runs and six hits over five innings.
Florida continues to impress during the 2011 campaign and trails just Cleveland and Philadelphia for the top record in baseball. The Marlins are looking to take their first series from the Phillies since winning two of three in Philadelphia from April 16-18, 2010. “Monday night was big because we can win the series,” said pitcher Josh Johnson. “It’s not any bigger than that. We’re not going to say it’s a stepping-stone to anything.” Catcher John Buck is likely to play a major role in the outcome of tonight’s game, coming in 12-for-34 (.353) with three doubles and three homers against Lee. Florida is 18-9 in night games this year.
Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco is 3-0 with a 3.23 ERA in seven starts this season, as the team has garnered a 5-2 record with him on the mound. The right-hander is coming off his first double-digit strikeout game of the season, giving up two runs and six hits over seven innings in a no-decision effort. Nolasco is 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four home starts during the 2011 campaign, collecting 27 strikeouts and issuing just five walks in 27.1 frames. In 12 career games (nine starts) versus the Phillies, he has compiled a 6-3 mark and 3.78 ERA, including a complete game victory in his only start against them last year.
Bettors will likely back the Marlins due to their 5-1 record in Nolasco’s last six starts, while the Phillies are just 13-12 in night games.