Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (83-61) at Florida Marlins (73-69)

The Phillies wrap up their second-to-last road trip of the season with a three-game series against the Florida Marlins. The Marlins are without ace pitcher Josh Johnson due to shoulder and back tightness, which is a blessing for the Phillies. Meanwhile, the Marlins will be facing Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels, and Roy Halladay, which is.. not a blessing for the Marlins. Hamels and Halladay have been phenomenal as of late (all season, actually, though Cole’s numbers don’t really prove that), and if Blanton can pitch a solid five or six innings (we’ll all be holding our breaths during the first inning) and hold power hitters like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison at bay for a game, we may be looking at a sweep. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But here’s hoping.

With 18 games left in the season, every one is a must-win for the Phillies. They’re known for getting hot in September, but we also have to keep in mind that other teams are known to choke in September. Unfortunately, that’s not a given. The Phillies can’t sit back and expect the Braves to collapse; they have to play hard and play to win every single game for the rest of the season. Roy Oswalt pitched an absolute gem on Sunday against the Mets, but, once again, the Phillies failed to score a decent number of runs. It’s the same problem they’ve been having for what feels like forever: good (sometimes outstanding) pitching and little run support. They need to step up their offensive game so that they can take a sizeable lead in the division before the end of the season. One game up on the Braves is good, but it’s not much, especially when there are six games left against Atlanta, including the final series of the season. In an interview about a week ago, Charlie Manuel said that he’d like to be four games up on Atlanta with three games left to go in the season. It’s doable, the Phillies just have to do it.


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