PHILADELHPIA -- It's bad enough for the Marlins that they've just had the sand kicked in their face, losing 10 of 11 at home. Now they have the unpleasant task of not just facing the first-place Phillies in the unfriendly confines of Citizens Bank Park, but facing their best pitchers to boot.
Cole Hamels (tonight), Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick are scheduled to take the mound for the Phillies in the compressed, four-game series. The Marlins are sending out Anibal Sanchez and a V-team of Chris Volstad, Javier Vazquez and, in all probability, Elih Villanueva.
It could get real ugly for the Marlins, and their season could be over in a hurry. The four games are being played in a span of less than 48 hours. They're already 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Phillies, and closer to last place (2 1/2 games in front of the Nationals) than they are to second (5 1/2 behind the Braves). If the Phillies sweep the series, and the pitching matchups certainly don't bode well for the Marlins, I'd say a 11 1/2 game deficit would spell curtains, see ya next year.
Hanley Ramirez is not only returning to the lineup tonight, but will likely be batting in the leadoff spot. Can you say desperation move? Normally you would consider Anibal Sanchez to be a sweep-preventer in the quartet the Marlins are sending to the mound, but that's before you examine his brutal record here: 1-5 with a 7.85 ERA in eight starts.
How many games do the Marlins win -- if any -- in this series?