The Marlins are a much-improved ball club this season, but the Phillies have had their number.
The Phillies and Marlins will square off for the second of a three-game set in Miami on Wednesday night at Marlins Park. After a 6-5 win on Tuesday, Philadelphia can clinch the series against the Marlins with a win, which would give them their ninth series win in their last 11 against Miami. The Phils swept the Marlins at home earlier this season in April.
"We saw some good young talent, we saw some good arms in Philadelphia," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg says. "We were able to pitch well against them and played three good games to beat them. That's what it's going to take here, too."
It's the second in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days for the Phillies, while the Marlins play their second game back home after an 11-game West Coast road trip.
"We've been through stretches like this before. It's going to be a grind," said Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (0-4, 3.96 ERA), who looks to earn his first win of the season.
Kendrick's last start was a quality one, in which he went seven innings and gave up three runs, but typical of the way things have gone for him, he didn't get enough run support for a win.
In fact, he received no run support, as he was hit with a loss in a 3-0 defeat.
Kendrick also had a quality outing last time he faced the Marlins in a 4-3 win on April 16, which was part of a three-game home sweep against Miami.
That time, he was dealt a no-decision, going six strong innings in which he gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out seven.
Kendrick knows the Marlins' offense, second in the National League in runs, will be tougher to deal with this time around.
"I have to keep the ball down. They have some power hitters," Kendrick said. "With Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones -- two power hitters -- got to keep guys off base in front of them, and you have to be careful to those guys."
The Marlins' starter Wednesday will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who struggled in his last start against the Giants, allowing six runs on nine hits -- including a home run -- and issued two walks in 4 1/3 innings. Eovaldi had pitched well prior to that outing. The 24-year-old is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.62 despite his shaky start last Thursday. He has recorded 50 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings this season.
Marlins: Home cookin'
The Marlins are drastically better in Marlins Park vs. on the road. They have a league-leading 17 wins at home while they're 6-17 on the road.
Phillies: Staying the course
Though the Phillies find themselves in uncharted territory toward the bottom of the NL East, the veterans understand it's early in the season and know winning division games is what propels a team back up the standings.
"It's still early, but at the same time, these are games that you look forward to trying to win, especially when you're playing against teams that are in your division, because those games are games that will help you climb that ladder," Ryan Howard said.
• An interesting matter to keep an eye on will be whether Sandberg brings Ben Revere back into the starting lineup. Revere has missed the previous four games with a stomach virus, but says he's feeling better.
If Revere is back in the lineup, Sandberg has some options with regards to where he will slot the outfielder in the order. He has led off for 30 of the Phillies' 42 games this season, but in the last four, Sandberg has gone with Jimmy Rollins at the top spot.
Sandberg says Rollins' value has been immense in either of the first two spots in the order.
"Jimmy's best asset that he brings to the table is his baserunning skills. He's done a good job with that in both spots all year," Sandberg said of Rollins, who has six stolen bases. "Getting on base, if that means battling at-bats, making a pitcher work a little bit more to lengthen, prolong the at-bat, draw a walk if they don't throw strikes, but also have a chance to hit. Ultimately, those two positions set the tone for the other guys coming up."
David Furones is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.