The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t end their homestand on a positive note, but they still open their eight-game trip tied for the majors’ best record.
Philadelphia’s recent record visiting the Florida Marlins is even more impressive.
With right-hander Joe Blanton(notes) expected to make his first start in more than two weeks following a stint on the disabled list, the Phillies go for their seventh straight road victory in this NL East matchup on Monday night.
Philadelphia (22-11), tied with Cleveland for baseball’s best record, will try to get its offense going after scoring five runs while losing two of three to Atlanta.
“We hit some balls good, but we couldn’t do anything with guys on base,” manager Charlie Manuel said after his team had 12 hits in Sunday’s 5-2 defeat.
The Phillies didn’t have that problem in their last six games at Florida last season, hitting .316 and averaging 6.8 runs.
Philadelphia, winner of 17 of 20 in Miami, open this three-game set with Blanton (0-1, 5.92 ERA) making his first appearance since April 23 after missing two starts with a medial impingement in his right elbow.
“It was pain I could have pitched through, but I didn’t know what it was,” he told the Phillies’ official website after being placed on the disabled list.
Blanton, who has a 2.57 ERA in his last two outings, will try to extend the Phillies’ streak of 10 consecutive starts with three runs allowed or fewer.
He is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three career road starts against Florida, which continues its homestand after snapping a season-high three-game losing streak with Sunday’s 8-0 victory over Washington.
The Marlins (20-13) had 13 hits in the victory - the team’s highest total since April 14 - after batting .174 with seven runs total during their slide.
“This sets the tone going into the next series,” catcher John Buck(notes) said Sunday after going 3 for 10 with a homer and two RBIs in the series. “We were a little flat, a little stale. … I definitely feel a lot better now that we played that good game.”
Javier Vazquez(notes) (2-2, 6.39) will try to get the Marlins off to a quick start in this series, but opening strong has not been his strong suit. He has allowed at least one first-inning run in each of his six starts, including two in the opening frame of a 4-3 victory in Philadelphia on April 15.
Vazquez did not earn a decision after yielding six runs - four earned - and a season high-tying eight hits in Wednesday’s 8-7 road win over St. Louis.
“It just seems that everything is going wrong for me right now,” he told the Marlins’ official website.
Vazquez could face more struggles if he can’t get Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco(notes) out. Polanco, 21 for 60 with five doubles and a home run off the Marlins right-hander, has reached base safely in 25 straight games and is among the NL’s top hitters at .366.
He went 4 for 9 with a homer in a rain-shortened series against the visiting Marlins on April 15 and 17.
“Hopefully he will come out of the slump, because we need him, big time, Hanley’s offense,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Philadelphia has won 13 of 17 overall versus Florida.