Phils start series in Florida
The Philadelphia Phillies will take their sizzling record game series against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium.
Philadelphia is looking down on the rest of the majors with an 87-46 mark and sits 41 games over .500 for only the third time in franchise history, having already accomplished the feat twice in 1976. It has never been 42 games above .500 and is coming off a rare four-game sweep in Cincinnati, breaking out the brooms in Thursday afternoon���s 6-4 win behind home runs from Ryan Howard and Mike Martinez. Howard has hit at least 30 homers and driven in 100 runs in six straight years.
The NL East-leading Phillies got six decent innings from starter Vance Worley. Worley allowed four runs, including three on a pinch-hit home run by Chris Heisey in the seventh inning, in six innings of work. He struck out seven batters and allowed eight hits, while the Phillies have won his last 13 outings, the most since tearing off 15 straight wins when lefty Steve Carlton took the mound during the 1972 season.
"I got myself in trouble a couple times as usual," Worley said. "I found a way to get out, and I think as the game went on, my stuff got better."
Brad Lidge and Antonio Bastardo combined for two scoreless innings of relief and Ryan Madson closed the door in the ninth for his 26th save. The Phillies are 7 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta in the division standings.
Hoping to bounce back from a rough outing tonight for the Phillies will be Roy Oswalt, who couldn't hang on in last Friday's 6-5 loss versus Florida at Citizens Bank Park. Oswalt allowed six runs -- five earned -- and 12 hits over 5 2/3 innings to fall to 6-8 in 17 starts to go along with a 3.77 ERA.
Since opening the season 3-0 in four starts, Oswalt is 3-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 14 games (13 starts). The Phils are 4-10 in that span. Oswalt is 0-1 in two starts against Florida this season and 6-5 with a 3.96 ERA in 16 career starts in this matchup. The right-hander is 3-5 in 10 road outings in 2011.
The Marlins just went 1-4 in a five-game series with the New York Mets at Citi Field and suffered a 7-5 loss on Thursday.
Clay Hensley took the loss and lasted just two innings, allowing four runs - two earned - with one strikeout and two walks. Emilio Bonafacio had three hits and three RBI for the Marlins, who are last in the NL East with a 60-76 ledger.
"We were sloppy tonight, no question," said Florida manager Jack McKeon.
Taking the hill for the Marlins tonight will be Brad Hand. Hand hasn't pitched since an 8-5 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 8, as he allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings of work. This is the lefty���s first season in the big leagues and he���s 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in eight starts. Hand has never faced the Phillies and was in Double-A Jacksonville prior to this evening���s start.
Florida and Philadelphia were supposed to play a three-game series last week at Citizens Bank Park until Hurricane Irene washed it down to just one contest - a 6-5 win for the Marlins last Friday. The Phillies are 9-4 against the Marlins this season and have won 22 of the past 31 meetings between the two clubs.
Philadelphia has been solid on the road and won for the 16th time in its last 19 away games on Thursday, improving to a National League best 41-24 on the road.