Marlins look to maintain hold on Phillies

The Miami Marlins have the worst record in the National League, yet they look like a playoff contender when playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

Miami has won eight of 14 contests against the Phillies this season, including a stunning 19-11 victory on Friday night. The Marlins overcame an early 7-0 deficit and went on to set a season high in runs. It was also the most runs they have ever scored at Marlins Park.

On Saturday night, the Marlins will try to win this three-game series vs. the Phillies, who are actual wild-card playoff contenders, even if they don't generally play that way against Miami.

It doesn't help the Phillies' cause that they are without star right fielder Bryce Harper this weekend. Harper left the team before Friday's game for Las Vegas, where he and his wife Kayla are expecting their first child, a son.

Miami will also be without its standout right fielder on Saturday. In fact, Brian Anderson is likely gone for the season after he was hit by a pitch on Friday and postgame X-rays revealed that he has a fractured left hand.

"It was a rough day for me," Anderson said. "But I keep looking at it like it was a great day for our team. The way we fought back, that helped (my spirits) a lot."

"It will probably be it for the season for me," Anderson added. "Obviously, not the news you want to hear, but at the same point, it's baseball, and stuff like this happens."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he was shocked by his team's comeback, which snapped Miami's six-game losing streak.

"I would have never thought it would end like this the way (that game) started," Mattingly said.

Saturday's pitching matchup will feature two right-handers: Miami's Jordan Yamamoto (4-4, 4.31 ERA) and Philadelphia's Zach Eflin (7-11, 4.57).

Yamamoto, who made his major league debut on June 12, started his career 4-0 but has lost his past four decisions.

In his most recent start, however, he struck out a career-high nine batters in just 5 2/3 innings, getting a no-decision in a 7-6 loss at Colorado last on Sunday.

He is 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts against the Phillies this season, allowing just four hits but also eight walks in nine innings. He has struck out 11 Phillies.

Eflin will be making his second start since rejoining Philadelphia's rotation. On Aug. 17 against the San Diego Padres, Eflin lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two walks and three runs.

"I threw some horrible two-strike pitches," Eflin told reporters after the game, a 5-3 Padres win in which he did not get a decision. "I have to get on top of that."

He also threw a higher percentage of sinkers in that start than he has since May 2017, and it will be interesting to see if he continues with that strategy.

In seven career starts against the Marlins, he is 3-2 with a 4.47 ERA. At Marlins Park, however, he has yet to win in four starts, going 0-2 with an ugly 7.29 ERA.

Eflin has pitched twice at Marlins Park this year and is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA, giving up 18 hits -- including four homers -- in 10 innings.

Overall this season, Eflin has struggled against lefty batters, giving up 14 homers. He has allowed just seven homers against right-handed batters along with a better OPS (.725 as opposed to .900).

Eflin has also struggled in the second half of this season -- 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA after starting the year 7-8 with a 3.78 ERA.

The Phillies, though, need Eflin to pitch well because the team has fallen 2 1/2 games back in the chase for the final NL wild-card playoff spot.

--Field Level Media
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