The first leg of the Marlins 10-game homestand came to an end Thursday night against the Braves. Now, the Marlins can officially turn their attention to first-place Phillies.
Among the sexy storylines to follow during the three-game weekend series: Will a struggling Philadelphia lineup get back on track against an improved Marlins starting staff? And who will win Saturday night's big-time showdown between aces Roy Hallday and Josh Johnson Saturday night?
The Marlins took two of three from the Phillies at Citizens Back Park back on April 16-18. Pitching was huge. Ricky Nolasco tossed a complete game in a 5-1 Saturday night win. Then, Nate Robertson and a slew of relievers combined on a 2-0 shutout a day later.
The Phillies, losers of four straight, have been shutout in three of their last four games entering Thursday night's game at CitiField in New York. They've been outscored 37-15 over their eight previous games and have been held to one run or less five times during the stretch. The Marlins, however, aren't licking their chops. They know the Phillies have a lineup that can turn things around quickly.
Despite their struggles, Philadelphia is still hitting an NL-leading .277 with 18 homers and 114 runs scored (5.18 runs per game) on the road.
"They have a pretty strong left-handed lineup," said Friday night starter Chris Volstad, who pointed out how the Phillies are 21-11 against right-handed starters this season -- the most wins by any team in the NL.
"I'll probably be working a lot of two-seamers, changeups, heck everything. I've been watching a lot of video to see how to attack them."
THE PITCHING MATCHUPS...
> Friday: Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 5.66 ERA) vs. Marlins RHP Chris Volstad (3-5, 4.31 ERA)
> Saturday: Phillies RHP Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.22 ERA) vs. Marlins RHP Josh Johnson (5-1, 2.43 ERA)
> Sunday: Phillies LHP Jamie Moyer (5-4, 4.55 ERA) vs. Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 3.23 ERA)