Here they are again. After winning their sixth straight thanks to an improbable comeback win against the Washington Nationals, the Phillies sit two games back of first place in the NL East. Positive vibes are surrounding the Fightins right now, and rightfully so, they’ve dug themselves out after a bad stretch following the eight-game win streak they put together a short time ago.
However, an all too familiar foe, the Miami Marlins stand in front of them now for three crucial games. The Phillies need to keep pace with the Braves and in the wild card race where they’re two games back from the Cincinnati Reds.
Losing two of three or being swept by the Marlins is typical for the Phillies in seasons’ past as they came down the stretch of a playoff push. In 2019 and 2020 combined, the Phillies held a 10-17 record against the fish. So far in 2021, they sit a game above .500 at 7-6 with six games remaining against them, including the current series. On top of the improved record this season, the Phillies should feel a boost in confidence because of the starting pitching matchups.
In-game one Kyle Gibson, who’s without a doubt been the team’s best acquisition at the trade deadline, toes the rubber, followed by Ranger Suarez and Zack Wheeler. Only one tough matchup presents itself in game two when All-Star Trevor Rogers matches up against Suarez in the second game.
Otherwise, the Phillies possess the starting pitching advantage in the remainder of the series. Casting aside previous years’ misfortunes, there’s little to no reason why the Phillies shouldn’t at least win this series, considering their current wave of momentum.
They play one more playoff-contending team outside of the division in the Milwaukee Brewers after the Marlins. The Brewers are one of the top teams in the National League, making it imperative for the Phillies to continue racking up wins against teams they should. It’s no mystery the Marlins represented the fork in the middle of the road that kept the Phillies out of the playoffs in recent years.
One notable difference this year’s team embodies versus past years is resilience. They just showed it in the series finale in Washington. Hopefully, for themselves and the fanbase, that means they at long last can avenge the late-season demons the Marlins have presented to them.
If Bryce Harper continues on his torrid pace towards a second National League MVP and role players like Rafael Marchan and Andrew McCutchen continue coming through, there’s no reason not to believe the pesky Miami Marlins are soon going to be an issue of the past.
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