Tuesday MLB Preview – Phillies at Marlins

The Phillies will be without one of their top sluggers in the opening game of this three-game series in South Florida.

Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Marlins

Philadelphia continues to be bit by the injury bug, as All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard has traveled back home to have his left ankle examined by the team physician.  “It’s just swollen.  It’s tight, sore.  Other than that, it’s not too, too bad,” Howard said.  The Phillies are already without the services of second baseman Chase Utley and outfielder Shane Victorino.  The club has earned an even 4-4 record in its first eight meetings with the Marlins, but took two out of three at Sun Life Stadium in May.  The Phillies are 11-3 in their last 14 games in Miami.  Philadelphia enjoyed an off day on Monday and looks to even up its record in this situation, as the team is 5-6 this season after receiving a day off (-290).  The Phillies are 34-24 after a day of rest the last three seasons overall (+660).

Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay is 12-8 with a 2.21 ERA in 22 starts this season and is looking to tally his third consecutive victory.  In his previous two outings, he has allowed just a single run and 11 hits over 17 innings, while issuing just one walk and collecting 18 strikeouts.  The right-hander is an even 4-4 with a 3.07 ERA in nine road starts, compiling an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio (62K/7BB).  In five July starts, he produced a 3-1 record and 1.54 ERA.  Halladay has made five lifetime starts against the Marlins, compiling an even 2-2 record and 2.12 ERA, but picked up a 2-0 loss against the Fish on June 10.  In that start, he gave up just a single run and six hits over eight innings.

Florida returns home after winning four of seven games on the road, but dropped the final game of the trip, 5-4, against the first-place San Diego Padres.  The Marlins are 5-7 after a day off in 2010 (-340) and 29-24 the last three years (+290).  After finishing July with the second-most wins in franchise history for the month (16), the Fish hope to turn around their performance in August.  The club is 25-32 over the last three years during this calendar month (-1,150) and the total is 27-26 O/U in those games.  Florida has produced a 21-18 record against division opponents this season and is 103-79 against East foes the last three campaigns (+3,170).

Marlins starting pitcher Sean West will be making his first start of the season, after picking up 20 starts of experience with the ball club in 2009.  The young left-hander produced an 8-6 mark and 4.79 ERA in those outings, while allowing batters to hit for a .280 average.  In 10 home outings last year, West was 6-2 with a 3.29 ERA.  At Triple-A New Orleans, he went 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA, including a shutout in his last start on Tuesday.  “He’s started games up here,” said pitching coach Randy St. Claire.  “It’s not like this is his first go-round.”

Bettors will find the road team with a 4-3 record when favored by -175 or more away from Citizens Bank Park this season (-130) and 12-7 in this spot the last three years (-100).  Florida will find itself a home underdog of +175 or more for just the second time in three seasons (0-1, -100).

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