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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, September 12th (All times eastern)
Miami Marlins (63-80) at Philadelphia Phillies (71-71), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Miami - Josh Johnson (8-11, 3.81) Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (4-7, 3.50)
(Sports Network) - Criticize him for not hustling 24/7, but Jimmy Rollins can still deliver when he wants to.
Rollins helped the Philadelphia Phillies to their season high-tying sixth straight win last night and will have a quick turnaround with Wednesday afternoon's finale of a three-game series versus the Miami Marlins.
The 2007 National League MVP hit a clutch two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning and finished 2-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored in a 9-7 win. Rollins is on a five-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 12 of his previous 13 contests (3 HR, 8 RBI).
Rollins got a second chance before he belted his 18th home run of the season, as Marlins catcher Rob Brantly dropped a popup in foul territory. Rollins made Miami pay after that and crushed a home run to the seats in right field.
"I usually make an out right after that," Rollins said on the club's website. "I've definitely had some popups dropped. It usually ends up with a broken-bat ground ball to the shortstop or second baseman. The next pitch it happened, and it was big because we needed every single run."
He was right.
The Phillies blew an 8-3 lead and Rollins' sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh kept the hosts in front with some breathing room. Rollins enabled the Phillies to reach .500 (71-71) for the first time since June 4th, when the five-time defending NL East champions were 28-28. Philadelphia has an even home record, too, going 37-37 at Citizens Bank Park. It's the first time the Phils are .500 in their own park since a 10-10 ledger on May 19.
"Being .500 has never made so much noise around here," Rollins added. "I'm glad that it can."
Philadelphia is tied with Milwaukee at four games off a wild card spot with 20 games to play, and has the best record in the NL since Aug. 23 at 14-4. The Phillies are 20-8 at home since late July and got three hits apiece from Chase Utley and Juan Pierre in Tuesday's victory. Roy Halladay battled to get his 10th win of the season and yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings.
"It was just one of those games where I felt really good early on. I felt like we were making pitches," Halladay said. "It ends up being closer than you want, but we got out with a win. It feels good right now, especially the way we've been playing."
Jonathan Papelbon closed the door in the ninth for his 33rd save.
Hoping to put the Phillies over .500 tonight is left-hander Cliff Lee. Lee is 2-0 in his last five starts and is coming off a no-decision versus Colorado on Friday, when he allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 3-2 win. He is 4-7 in 25 starts with a 3.50 earned run average and lost his only appearance this season to the Marlins on June 29 in south Florida.
Lee was hammered for 10 hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-2 defeat and is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA in six career against the Marlins. Lee could struggle today if his home record is any indication, as he is only 1-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 12 starts at Citizens Bank Park.
After Wednesday's game the Phillies will play seven on the road against the Houston Astros and New York Mets.
Miami is playing out the string and would enjoy nothing more than to throw a wrench in Philadelphia's surging postseason hopes. Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes is not surprised with what's currently going in with the Phillies.
"Nothing surprises me, because I've been through the same situation," Reyes told the team's website prior to Tuesday's game. "I don't count them out, at all. Because the pitching staff that they have, it's not easy to face those guys."
The Marlins will try to avoid the sweep and have dropped three of four and nine of 13 games. In last night's tough loss, Giancarlo Stanton homered and Brantly ended with two hits and two runs scored.
"We did a good job against Halladay, we just didn't pitch well," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We continue to leave people in scoring position with a great opportunity to score more runs and we leave them there. That's been our problem most of the year."
Nathan Eovaldi was dealt the loss for surrendering five runs and eight hits in four innings of work.
Miami will head home this evening and start a six-game residency with the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. But first ace Josh Johnson will take the mound in a matinee affair against the Phillies, a team that beat him less than a month ago. Johnson allowed one run in eight innings of a 1-0 loss on Aug. 14 and struck out seven batters.
Johnson has faced the Phillies three times this season, going 1-2 with a 4.08 earned run average, and is 6-5 with a 3.33 ERA in 17 career games (15 starts) against them. The right-hander was 0-4 in his previous five starts overall until he topped Milwaukee last Thursday with seven innings of two-run ball and seven Ks in a 6-2 triumph.
He is 8-11 in 28 starts with a 3.81 ERA and 2-6 in 12 road assignments.
The Marlins and Phillies have split 14 meetings this season.
09/12 10:37:00 ET
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