The Philadelphia Phillies will open up a series against the Miami Marlins on Friday, June 29. At this point, both teams have seen their share of struggles. This is the kind of series in which the Phillies need to make a statement, so I would expect them to produce some pretty good fantasy numbers. It's always a little tricky for fantasy owners to predict which players will come up big and which will come up small, but there are some guys you can bank on in this series. Here are the Phillies players that should have the best fantasy numbers against Miami.
After a tough stretch of games, Hamels seems to have settled down. He has allowed just two earned runs in his last 15 innings. In his last outing against the Tampa Bay Rays, Hamels worked seven innings without allowing a single run. He has a 10-3 record on the season and his ERA is down to 3.03. He looks closer to the pitcher we saw early in the season, and that is a good thing for fantasy owners.
Many fantasy owners probably thought that Ruiz would have fallen off by now, but that hasn't happened. The catcher is hitting .362 on the season and is easily on pace to shatter his best single season average. With two home runs and four RBI in the last series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ruiz now has 11 home runs and 43 RBI on the season. Those are already more than he had in each category for the entire 2011 campaign. Right now, he is the best fantasy option for the Phillies.
In his first game of the season, Utley went 3-5 with a home run. It's not a lot of evidence to go on, but fantasy owners should assume that he can still hit. Utley is likely to play the first two games of this series before resting, but he can still have a pretty nice fantasy impact. He has solid career numbers against the Marlins, hitting .296 with 24 home runs. He also has 89 career RBI against the, easily the most he has had against any one team.
No player on the Phillies is happier to have Utley back than Pence. He is much more comfortable hitting in the five hole, so we can expect to see his average and power numbers climb. He hit three extra base hits against the Pirates, including his team leading 14th home run. Pence is hitting .455 with two home runs against the Marlins this season, so he has clearly figured out this pitching staff. Fantasy owners should expect a big series from him.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia Phillies fan and regular fantasy baseball player.