Desperate for a boost on the diamond, the Miami Marlins are set to unveil catching prospect Rob Brantly tonight in the second installment of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
Brantly was acquired in a deal that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit and had his contract selected from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday. Brantly hit .365 with a .389 on-base percentage, four doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs in 14 games with the minor league club, and will give catcher John Buck a breather tonight.
"One thing he needs to work on a little bit is the defense," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But they say he swings the bat pretty good and has a chance to be a good player. We'll see pretty soon how good he can be."
The young backstop will catch ace Josh Johnson, who will try to get back into the win column after taking a loss to the New York Mets on Thursday. Johnson gave up three runs in six innings of a 6-1 loss at Citi Field and is 7-8 with a 3.88 earned run average in 23 starts. The right-hander was 2-0 in his previous three starts.
Johnson is 1-1 in two starts against Philadelphia this season and 6-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 16 career games, 14 of which have been starts, in this series.
Miami hopes Johnson can pitch better than Nathan Eovaldi did in last night's 4-0 loss in the series opener. Eovaldi lasted five innings and permitted three runs -- two earned -- and eight hits. He struck out two batters and walked three to fall to 3-8 with both the Dodgers and Marlins this season.
"He has to throw strikes," Guillen said. "He's a kid. We have to figure out how to help him. I don't care how much good stuff you have, if you don't throw strikes, you're going to run into trouble, and that's what I see with him."
Donovan Solano and Jose Reyes had two hits apiece for Miami, which lost for the 10th time in 15 tries.
Philadelphia opened a seven-game trek on a high note thanks to another brilliant pitching performance from Cole Hamels. The high-priced left-hander tossed his second straight shutout by holding the Marlins to seven hits while striking out five and walking one.
"I play to win and I'm not gonna go out there and give up when a season can supposedly be given up on already," said Hamels. "I want to win every game I possibly can."
Juan Pierre picked up three hits and drove in a run for the Phillies, who snapped a five-game losing streak against the Marlins and won for third time in four tries. The Phillies are 8-5 in the past 13 games, and will visit Milwaukee for four games on the road trip.
The Phillies placed outfielder Nate Schierholtz on the disabled list with a broken right big toe and recalled infielder Hector Luna from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Schierholtz is expected to miss about a month of action.
Kyle Kendrick gets the nod for the Phils tonight and he is 4-9 with a 4.86 earned run average in 27 games (15 starts) this season. Kendrick lasted just 3 1/3 innings in a 12-6 loss to Atlanta last Wednesday and gave up six runs and seven hits.
The right-hander defeated the Marlins back on June 1 and has fared well in his career against them, going 8-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 17 games (12 starts).
Miami is 6-4 against the Phillies this season.