Miami (82-76) at Philadelphia (83-75)

Heavy Thunderstorm Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Sep 30, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies were expecting to spend the final weekend of the season battling one another for the NL East title, or at least a wild-card berth.

Instead they’ll just be counting down the days until the offseason as they wrap up disappointing campaigns with a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

The Marlins, who made a surprising run to a World Series title last year, were in the running for the East, along with the Phillies, before the Atlanta Braves used a big second-half to pull away from the field en route to their 13th straight division title.

Philadelphia, picked by many to dethrone Atlanta this year, led the East at the All-Star break but struggled to find any consistency the rest of the way, settling for its second straight winning season—something the Phillies hadn’t done since 1982-83.

“It’s not where we all thought we would be, but it’s better than a losing season,” Phillies catcher Todd Pratt said after Philadelphia’s doubleheader sweep of Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

The disappointing season has clearly put manager Larry Bowa on the spot entering the offseason.

“Anytime you start the season, you want to win more than you lose,” Bowa said. “We’ve done that three of the four years I’ve been here.”

At this time last year, the Marlins were on their way to locking up the NL wild card before stunning San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees in the postseason. But Florida was unable to make a late-season surge this year, dropping out of serious contention for the wild card earlier this month.

Carl Pavano set a Marlins team record for wins with his 18th of the year Wednesday, pitching Florida past Montreal 9-1 in the Expos’ home finale before their move to Washington next year.

The Marlins have won three in a row since a six-game skid ended their postseason hopes.

Florida will also be looking for some payback after suffering a three-game sweep to Philadelphia at Pro Player Stadium from Sept. 21-23. Prior to the sweep, the Phillies had lost 14 straight in Miami.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Willis Mil vs. G. Floyd Cle
10-11 Record 2-0
4.02 ERA 3.49
139 K 24
61 BB 16
1.38 WHIP 1.45