The Philadelphia Phillies likely won't avoid their first losing season in a decade, but games against the Miami Marlins are helping them delay the seemingly inevitable.
The Phillies will try for a series-best eighth straight win against the Marlins on Wednesday night, and Zach Miner will seek to help in his first major league start in four years.
Philadelphia (71-80) hasn't posted a sub-.500 record since going 80-81 in 2002 and haven't lost more than 81 games since finishing 65-97 in 2000. Barring an incredible year-ending run, the Phillies won't avoid a sub-.500 finish, but they did further their recent dominance over Miami (55-96) on Tuesday.
Chase Utley homered and had four RBIs for the second straight game as Philadelphia held on for a 6-4 victory. Carlos Ruiz contributed a two-run single in the third inning, giving him 12 RBIs in his last seven games
Miner (0-1, 3.72 ERA) will try to lead the Phillies to another win in his first start since Aug. 12, 2009. The right-hander is getting the call after Kyle Kendrick developed inflammation in his right shoulder.
"It's very cautionary and conservative," manager Ryne Sandberg told the team's website. "(Kendrick's) felt something the last few weeks. He just wanted to get peace of mind about it. He was still able to pitch and could still pitch now. But it was a precautionary move now to get him checked out."
Miner has made 13 relief appearances since being called up from the minors Aug. 2. He's facing the Marlins, losers in 10 of 12, for the first time.
Miami's Nathan Eovaldi (3-6, 3.80 ERA) is starting for the first time since Sept. 7 after having to skip an outing due to tightness in his back. He gave up five runs over three innings in his previous game, a 9-2 loss to Washington on Sept. 7.
"Eovaldi is back, literally back," manager Mike Redmond told the team's website. "It's good. You never know with those things how it's going to act this late in the season. Hopefully, he can bounce back and give us a couple of starts."
Eovaldi hasn't faced the Phillies this season and went 0-4 with a 5.85 ERA in four matchups in 2012. Ruiz went 4 for 6 with three doubles and two RBIs against him in those games while Domonic Brown was 4 for 8.
Juan Pierre, who passed Joe DiMaggio on the all-time hits list Tuesday with 2,215, is the only current Marlins player to have faced Miner, going 0 for 1.