Off to a terrible start at home, the Philadelphia Phillies hope facing the team with the NL’s worst record can help get their current homestand turned around as they begin a three-game set with the Florida Marlins on Friday.
The Phillies (6-9) are 2-7 at Citizens Bank Park and are in the midst of their worst home start since 1997, when the team had the same record after nine home games. They never had eight losses through 10 home games in 33 seasons at Veterans Stadium.
Philadelphia opened this nine-game homestand by losing two of three to the Washington Nationals, with the only win being a 7-6 victory in 10 innings on Wednesday. The Nationals won the other two games by a combined 20-7 score.
Phillies right-hander Jon Lieber (0-3, 9.18 ERA) is hoping to avoid a third loss this season at Citizens Bank Park. He didn’t do well on the road Saturday, giving up seven runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
“You look at my stats and you’d think I’d been giving it up,” said Lieber, who has the highest ERA in Philadelphia’s starting rotation. “I’m throwing the ball fine. There are no mechanical issues. I had a rough opening day, but I haven’t been hit hard the last two starts.”
The 12-year veteran is off to his worst start since opening 0-3 in 1998, and is looking to avoid going 0-4 for the first time in his career.
Lieber did win his last three starts against the Marlins in 2005, with two of them coming at home. He’s 7-6 with a 4.23 ERA in 25 appearances, including 17 starts, against Florida.
The young Marlins (4-10) are looking to cut down on costly miscues after squandering a four-run lead in a 9-8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Though Florida tied a club record by hitting four homers, the team allowed five runs in the final three innings and made three errors while falling to 0-5 in one-run games.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Marlins manager Joe Girardi. “We can’t keep making mistakes. Seventeen days in, we can’t keep making mistakes.”
The Marlins turn to 22-year-old Scott Olsen (0-1, 1.69), who is making his second start after a mistake-filled season debut.
The left-hander struck out six and allowed only two runs—one earned—in 5 1-3 innings, but walked six and had a throwing error that scored a run for Washington in a 2-1 defeat.
In his only career appearance against the Phillies, Olsen gave up six runs— three earned—with two homers in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-5 loss on July 16, 2005.
Rookie Hanley Ramirez, who went 2-for-5 with a double on Wednesday, looks to continue his hot start for the Marlins. The shortstop is batting .367 and has scored 16 runs to tie for third in the NL, two behind league leader Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.