Phillies-Marlins (Game 29): Must-Know Stuff
Phillies (12-16) vs. Miami Marlins (8-20)
PHI: RHP Kyle Kendrick (2-1, 2.41 ERA)
MIA: RHP Alex Sanabia (2-3, 4.85 ERA)
First pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Forty-eight hours, and the Phillies first series sweep, win streak and consequent momentum are essentially undone.
The Phils open this four-game set with the Marlins today four games under .500, one game above the lowest of their low so far. At third place in the National League East, the Phillies are 5.5 games back of the Braves (17-10) and within arm’s reach of the second-place 14-14 Nationals.
Only four clubs (Mets, Cubs, Padres and Marlins) are worse off in the NL.
The Phils are 7-2 against the Mets and Marlins, and 5-14 vs. everybody else.
So, yeah. This is kind of makes for a good draw. The Marlins co-own the worst record in baseball. They rank in the bottom two of every major offensive category, with a .229/.289/.312 line and average 2.82 runs per game. Since 2010, the Phils are 37-20, their most wins against any opponent in the span.
Miami’s won three of four games and fresh off their first series win…over the Mets. But they’ll be without Giancarlo Stanton, who was 15-day DL’d Tuesday with a Grade 2 hamstring strain that’s expected to shelve him for over three weeks. So they’re at, like, one-quarter strength.
Stanton, 23, also missed six games after Apr. 12 with a shoulder contusion. He’d only hit .227 (comparable to Freddy Galvis) but Stanton’s 13.6 BB% helped him to a .341 OBP (Chase Utley). Which is why walks are good.
For the Phillies, anything short of a sweep should be unacceptable.
Though the Phillies actually lost, 2-1, in walk-off fashion on Apr. 13 in Miami. Chase Utley muffed a grounder for a could’ve-been inning-ending double play. Placido Polanco scored the go-ahead run.
Today’s a double dose of homecoming, for Polanco and Juan Pierre, both of whom will be making their first trip back to Citizens Bank Park since their departures from the team this offseason.
Kyle Kendrick has a top 15 ERA in the National League. He has as many quality starts (4), as each of Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels despite having one fewer start than all of them.
They’ve all been in a row, since Kendrick served five in 5 2/3 innings to the Royals in the home opener (again, maybe partly because Charlie Manuel didn’t let him face Billy Butler with two outs and two on, and Alex Gordon unloaded the bases on Jeremy Horst for runs charged to Kendrick).
He’s one of only seven NL starters (Jordan Zimmerman, Josh Beckett, Jake Westbrook, Adam Wainwright, Scott Feldman, Kershaw) to go the distance this year. Kendrick punched his in his last time out, when he three-hit the Mets on Sunday to ice the Phillies first sweep and streak of 2013.
Kendrick's issued only one more walk (8) than has Lee, for a top 15 NL walk rate (5.9%).
Now, he’s charged with cleaning up Halladay’s and Lee’s mess from Cleveland, where the Phils former Cy Young winners and $45 million men were tagged for 13 runs (12 earned) in 9 2/3 innings.
(That’s an 11.16 ERA.)
Kendrick’s 9-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 14 career starts against the Marlins. He’s undefeated in his last nine (7-0), with his last loss as a starter coming in Sept. 2008, two bullpen stints and one minor league demotion ago. The Phillies are 8-1 vs. Miami in Kendrick’s last nine starts since 2010.
What’s more, Kendrick will be going on six days rest, which he likes. Eliminate season debuts and mid-year starting rotation promotions, and Kendrick sports a 6-3 mark a 2.18 ERA in 17 career starts with an extra day, to just 20-9 with a 3.96 ERA on normal rest.
Save for Chis Coglan (5 of 11, 2 RBI, 2 BB) and Juan Pierre (2 for 5, 2B), current Marlins are 7 for 52 (.134) with 13 Ks (25.0%) and one walk (0.1%) against Kendrick in his career.
The Other Guy
Alex Sanabia, 24, got his chance when spring training broke, and Henderson Alvarez and Nate Eovaldi went down with shoulder injuries. So far this year, Sanabia’s pitched to his identity: a former 32nd round pick only anointed to the starting rotation after bad luck and worse management.
Sanabia surrendered five or more runs in two of five starts this year, to the Reds (Apr. 21) and Braves (Apr. 10). The rest have been for quality, including his latest time out against the Cubs, who worked him for three runs in 6 2/3 in a one-run Marlins loss on Monday. Very meh.
He’s also got the worst K/BB among NL starters. (Then again, Jake Westbrook, Jeff Locke and James McDonald are bottom-of-the-control-barrel Nos. 2 thru 4, and are 1-0 with a 3.17 ERA against the Phillies this year.) Oddly, he has a top 20 NL F-Strike%, so the Phillies need to be patient.
Sanabia’s a classic sinker-slider guy, with a luke warm 89.2 m.p.h. fastball and little differential from his off-speed stuff. He’s once faced the Phillies, after callups in 2011, and surrendered only one run on six hits through six innings with five strikeouts and no walks in a no-decision Phils win.
Charlie Manuel’s gone with the same 1-7 look since Delmon Young’s return. He’s yet to have to place Ben Revere in a lineup that also includes a pitcher, and he hasn’t split Chase Utley and Ryan Howard since Monday, when, you know, the Phillies offense was actually competent. So, against a right-handed starter today, and with the Marlins having only one left-handed reliever on the roster, (he's a good one, too: Mike Dunn, 1-0, 1.39 ERA), it’s probably best to alternate batting sides with every slot, as they now can.
I'd rest Carlos Ruiz, who’s 1 for 12 in three straight games since his return.
What else I’d do against RHP Sanabia:
Rollins, SS (.252/.310/.382)
Utley, 2B (.290/.345/.520)
M. Young, 3B (.326/.396/.400)
Howard, 1B (.273/.286/.444)
D. Young, RF (.333/.500/.833)
Brown, LF (.244/.317/.378)
Kratz, C (.191/.222/.309)
Revere, CF (.204/.245/.226)
Kendrick, P (.091/.091/.091)
Miami’s lineup was tissue paper-thin before they lost Stanton. Hence, all the Polanco and Greg Dobbs cleanup hitting. Kind of a moot point. But since we’re kind of obligated to do this, a thought for facing RHP Kendrick:
Pierre, LF (.222/.260/.253)
Solano, 2B (.260/.321/.280)
Polanco, 3B (.255/.314/.298)
Dobbs, 1B (.256/.326/.329)
Ruggiano, CF (.239/.300/.402)
Ozuna, RF (.429/.429/.429)
Brantly, C (.239/.313/.338)
Green, SS (.321/.344/.500)
Sanabia, P (.125/.222/.125)