|Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd|
Entering the 2020 campaign with new manager Joe Girardi at the helm, the Phillies hope this is the year they can return to the postseason for the first time since 2011 after under-performing and faltering down the stretch in each of the past two seasons.
On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced arrangements for an expanded playoff format this year, increasing the amount of post-season teams from 10 to 16.
Coming off back-to-back last place finishes in the National League East division, Miami looks to surprise many and contend for one of those spots. The Marlins lost 105 games last year.
Read ahead for specifics on the pitching match ups and more from this series.
Friday, 7/24/20...7:05PM. RHP Sandy Alcantara (6-14, 3.88 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (12-7, 3.87 ERA in 2019). The 24-year-old Miami starter had a 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA in a pair of starts at Citizens Bank Park last season. In four career starts against the Phils, Alcantara has a .130 batting average against. In 13 career starts against the Marlins, Nola sports a 3-6 record with a 3.28 ERA. Nola possesses a 3.03 ERA and a 10.5 K/9 mark in 65 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park. This will mark Nola's third straight Opening Day start. Friday's game will reportedly feature a pregame ceremony in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Saturday, 7/25/20...4:05PM. LHP Caleb Smith (10-11, 4.52 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (11-8, 3.96 ERA for the Mets last year). Smith, who will turn 29 years old next week, had a 5.40 ERA in 15 road starts last season. In four career starts facing the Phils, Smith has a 1-2 record with a 4.50 ERA. In 14 career starts against Miami, the 30-year-old Wheeler's got a 1.91 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Originally, a 1st round pick (6th overall) of San Francisco in 2009, Wheeler was traded to the Mets for Carlos Beltran in 2011 and signed with the Phils as a free agent over this past off-season.
Sunday, 7/26/20...1:05PM.RHP Jose Urena (4-10, 5.21 ERA in 2019) vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.91 ERA in 2019). Urena, 28, notched a 1.81 ERA in three appearances against the Phillies last year. Urena sports a 5.79 ERA in nine career outings against the Phils. Jay Bruce is 5-for-16 (.313 avg) with a double, two homers and six RBI in his career against Uerana. Velasquez, 28, had a 4.61 ERA in 11 home outings last season. In five appearances against the Marlins in 2019, Velasquez notched a 7.06 ERA. In 46 career games at CBP Velasquez holds a 13-15 record with a 4.60 ERA.
Colombian catcher and former Phillie Jorge Alfaro tallied a .262/.312/.425 slash line last year in his first full season with the Marlins, following a trade that sent JT Realmuto to the Phils. In 10 career games against the Phillies, Alfaro sports a .432 average with three home runs.
Former Phillies prospect Jonathan Villar has a .246 average with four home runs and 11 RBI in 18 career games facing the Phils. It has been nearly ten years since Villar was traded to Houston along with J.A. Happ and Anthony Gose for Roy Oswalt.
In 81 home games last year, outfielder Bryce Harper posted a .264 batting average with 20 home runs and 63 RBI. Harper is a .293 hitter with 28 homers and 92 RBI in 131 career games facing the Marlins.
First baseman Rhys Hoskins performed much better against lefties (.980 OPS) than he did against righties (.764 OPS) last season. Hoskins, the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2014, has enjoyed success against the Marlins in his career, as he's tallied a 1.024 OPS in 48 games against them.
Infielder Jean Segura may be considered day to day to start the season, after being hit by a pitch in the left hand in an exhibition game this week. Segura has a .348 batting average against the Marlins for his career.
The Phillies (.246) and Marlins (.241) ranked 22nd and 26th in the big leagues respectively in team batting average last season.