As the Philadelphia Phillies continue to make a push toward the top of the NL East standings, they also are gaining ground in the wild-card race.
The Phillies look to do more of the same in both areas while trying for a second straight home victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia (79-65) held on for an 8-6 victory over Florida in Monday’s opener, after splitting Sunday’s doubleheader with the East-leading New York Mets to finish a 5-5 road trip. With their latest win, the Phillies moved within 1 1/2 games of the idle Mets and three back of wild-card leading Milwaukee, which lost to Cincinnati on Monday.
“Every game is a must-win,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose team has won six of nine. “We have to win more games than they do.”
While Philadelphia is through playing the Mets in the regular season, it begins a key four-game home set with the Brewers on Thursday. Before that, however, the Phillies look to even the season series at 7-7 with the Marlins (72-72), who have lost three in a row.
Though he’s not having another MVP season, Rollins is heating up, batting .362 (25-for-69) during his last 16 games.
After having his last turn in the rotation skipped, Kyle Kendrick (11-8, 5.06 ERA) is scheduled to start for Philadelphia after going 1-3 with a 9.14 ERA over his last five outings.
The right-hander, who is 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA in four career starts versus Florida, allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings of a 7-4 loss at Washington on Sept. 1 in his most recent start.
“Obviously, I haven’t been pitching good,” Kendrick told the Phillies’ official Web site. “I just want to get back on the right track.”
Rookie Chris Volstad (4-3, 3.32) takes the ball for the Marlins after failing to factor in his last two decisions. He allowed three runs, six hits and five walks in six innings of a 5-3 win over Atlanta on Wednesday.
“It was weird with those five walks,” Volstad told the Marlins’ official Web site of his last start. “I did feel pretty good, and I was able to make pitches to get out of those jams.”
The right-hander, who is 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA in his last four starts, pitched well in giving up three hits in six innings of a 3-0 win over the Phillies on Aug. 7 in his lone career start against them.
Mike Jacobs and Cody Ross each hit two-run homers Monday for Florida, which is 1-3 on its six-game road trip. Jacobs, who has a career-high 31 homers, has four and six RBIs in his last six contests. Four of his six hits against Philadelphia this season have left the park.
Ross, meanwhile, is hitting .378 (14-for-37) with three home runs against Philadelphia in 2008.