Sep 1, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) prepares for an at bat against the Atlanta Braves in the third inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies vs. Marlins Series Preview: The Run Differential Battle Rages On!

The Phillies starting pitchers in the recently completed series against the Nationals were Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels, and Tyler Cloyd. Unsurprisingly, the Phillies won one of the three games. Intuitive readers should be able to guess which of the games they won.

The competition becomes a little easier this week as the Phillies take on the last place Miami Marlins. With both teams eliminated from playoff contention, at first glace this might seem like a meaningless series. However, the two teams are enaged in a heated battle to see who can record the National League’s worst run differential. The Phillies took a big step back against the Nationals, and now sit eight runs behind the Marlins. They’ll need to put up some impressive margins of victory against the Marlins if they want to close that gap.

What’s New With the Marlins

The Phillies haven’t faced the Marlins in a while, but not a whole lot has changed since the last time they met. The Marlins still can’t hit, ranking last in the NL in just about every key offensive category.

It is telling that perhaps their greatest offensive highlight of the season came when pitcher Jose Fernandez hit the first home run of his career and almost caused a brawl when he celebrated a bit too much for the Braves’ liking.

Marlins Player Who Isn’t Horrible

Much like every other team in baseball, the Phillies wish that they had outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on their team. That isn’t surprising since Stanton has already established himself as one of the game’s best power hitters, and is still only 23 years old.

Apparently, the Phillies have made no secret of their desire to obtain Stanton as they reportedly keep asking the Marlins to trade him to them. Normally, you’d think that this was a bit of a fool’s errand as teams don’t often trade stars within their own division.

Miguel Cabrera was once a Marlin. Image Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, we should never discount the Marlins’ capability to ruin their franchise with a stupid trade. Remember that the Marlins once employed Miguel Cabrera, but traded him away because they were supposedly concerned that his weight would make him a liability in the field.

Admittedly, Cabrera is not a great fielder. But the Tigers have somehow managed to overcome his fielding problems, partially thanks to Cabrera’s insanely good offensive numbers that is likely to earn him another MVP award this season.

Either the Marlins really missed the mark on Cabrera, or they were just trying to avoid paying him. Based on the team’s history, there’s a good chance that it’s the latter. In other words, Ruben Amaro should probably keep making some calls.

Marlins Player Who is Horrible

Pretty much every other hitter on the team falls into this category. The team’s poor offensive ranking has been well earned.

Key Phillies Storyline

It seems that unless Hamels or Cliff Lee is starting, the Phillies haven’t received a good outing from their starting pitcher. Fortunately, Lee is scheduled to start tonight’s game!

Tweet of Optimism?

I don’t know if this is good news or bad news. I guess that since this season is already lost, it would be best if they lose and make sure their draft pick is protected.

Final Take

If you want to see the Phillies win some games before the season ends, a series against the Marlins seems like your best bet to do so.  On the other hand, if you are really worried about the Phillies draft pick being protected, then…go Marlins?

Tags: Baseball Cliff Lee Cole Hamels Detroit Tigers Giancarlo Stanton Jose Fernandez Miami Marlins Miguel Cabrera Mike Lacy MLB Philadelphia Phillies Phillies Series Preview Run Differential Series Preview

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