Vicente Padilla thinks he has finally rediscovered the form that made him an All-Star last season.
After struggling earlier this season, Padilla appears to have found a new comfort level. He has lasted at least seven innings and given up no more than two earned runs in each of his past four starts.
“I think I’m in the rhythm I was in last year,” Padilla said through an interpreter.
On Monday, the 25-year-old right-hander gave up three runs—two earned— and five hits through seven innings of a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs.
The Phillies, who have won 13 of 17, will look for another strong effort from Padilla as they try to bounce back from a 2-1 loss in Friday’s series opener.
The Marlins finished with three hits, including just one in the first eight innings, but that was enough to win for the third time in four games. Derrek Lee hit a go-ahead single off Jose Mesa with two outs in the ninth to lead Florida to the win.
“We made the most of our runs and hits, just like we always seem to do,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “It was the same thing in our last game (a 2-1 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday). This time we got enough key hits to win.”
Florida is 25-14 since May 23, the best record in the NL East during that span.
“We’re playing the kind of baseball we thought we could when we were in spring training,” Lee said. “It just took us a while to get going.”
STANDINGS: Marlins - 4th place, 10 1/2 GB, NL East. Phillies - 2nd place, 5 1/2 GB, NL East.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Brad Penny (6-6, 4.78 ERA). Penny has struggled in recent outings, going 1-2 with a 12.33 ERA in his last three starts. On Sunday, he worked five innings, giving up nine runs and nine hits in an 11-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. In 10 career games against the Phillies, the 25-year-old right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.26 ERA.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Padilla (7-7, 3.68 ERA). Padilla is 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA in 10 career games against the Marlins.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .319 avg.; Mike Lowell, 26 HRs, 72 RBIs and 60 runs; Juan Pierre, 39 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .324 avg.; Jim Thome, 21 HRs, 60 RBIs and 55 runs; Placido Polanco, Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 9 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 4-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - 3B Lowell is batting .214 (3-for-14) in his career against RHP Padilla. … C Ivan Rodriguez went 0-for-4 Friday, snapping a nine-game hitting streak. … 2B Castillo is batting .395 (15-for-38) over his last 10 games. Phillies - RF Abreu singled in the sixth inning Friday for his 1,000th career hit. … C Lieberthal is 1-for-14 (.071) in his career against RHP Penny. … The Phillies’ bullpen has allowed just three runs in the last 11 games, a span of 39 innings.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 19-24 on the road; Phillies - 26-18 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Phillies - INF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.