2017 Series Preview

Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (17-31) at Miami Marlins (18-30), May 29-31

miami-marlins-new-log1.jpgWhen I was growing up, my brother Mark was an awful morning person. So when he would wake up particularly grumpy, my mom would send him back to bed and tell him not to come back down until he put a smile on his face.

So let’s do that. Let’s send the Phillies back to bed, and tell them not to come back down until they can put a smile on their faces.

This is not a fun team to watch right now. But it is only Memorial Day, which give them four whole months to turn things around. If they do want to start turning it around, Miami is a good place to start.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Phillies have the worst record in baseball, but the Marlins are only a game in front of them. These are two bad baseball teams. The Phillies already swept the Marlins in April during a six-game win streak that seems like decades ago, so perhaps they could use that as motivation to know they can hang with them. Frankly, if you need motivation to show up against a team that is only slightly less worse than you, you should probably find another line of work. But this is where we are these days.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Monday: Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-7, 4.82 ERA), 7:10 p.m.

When is the last time we’ve said, “This looks like a good match-up for the Phils?” But this one does. We knew there would be regression for Hellickson after his unsustainable April, but he only looked good in a start once in May, and hasn’t pitched more than six innings in a start since April 21. Drawing the Marlins and Volquez could be just what the doctor ordered to start turning things around.

Tuesday: Vince Velasquez (2-5, 5.55 ERA) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.40 ERA), 7:10 p.m.

Another Phillies pitcher in need of a big turnaround. Watching Velasquez pitch has been painful not just this year but most of last year. If he doesn’t lead the league in 25-pitch innings, he’s probably close. We all heard him talk in Pittsburgh about how clueless he is right now on the mound and generally in life, and he followed that up with a decent start against Colorado last week. Decent, that is, for Velasquez, who only gave up one run and struck out seven, but gave up eight hits and was only able to go five innings because he threw 94 pitches. Which sounds just like a Velasquez start these days. It would be great if he ever figured things out, but that seems more doubtful with every start.

Wednesday: Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34 ERA) vs. Dan Straily (3-3, 3.83 ERA), 1:10 p.m.

For some reason, Straily doesn’t seem to get any respect. But he dominated the Phillies last year with Cincinnati and has looked pretty good this year for Miami. Even though he’s won his last two starts, he’s been somewhat hittable, giving up 10 hits in 11 innings, including two home runs. He’s also walked five in those starts, so it’s up to the Phillies to be selective and patient since he also struck out 14. Yeah, I know. I think this screams 7 IP with 10 strikeouts, too.

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