The Miami Marlins beat one of the majors' top pitchers to even their series in Philadelphia. They might win the set if they can somehow add to the struggles of the Phillies' next scheduled starter. Trying for their first winning series at Citizens Bank Park in two years, the Marlins hope for some rare success against Joe Blanton on Sunday. Hanley Ramirez homered twice and drove in three runs Saturday as Miami (30-23) prevented Cole Hamels from becoming the majors' first nine-game winner with a 5-4 win at Philadelphia. One game behind first-place Washington in the NL East, the Marlins have won 22 of 31 since starting the season 8-14.
If they are to do repeat Saturday's success, they'll likely need to get the best of Blanton (4-5, 5.05 ERA), who is 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts against the Marlins. The right-hander, who gave up a run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 home victory over Miami on April 12, has a 2.50 ERA while winning three straight starts in the series. Blanton, however, is in the midst of his roughest stretch of 2012. He went 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts from April 28-May 14, but is 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in his last three. Blanton allowed six runs and nine hits - including two homers - in five-plus innings of a 6-3 loss to the Mets on Tuesday. Ramirez is 7 for 21 against Blanton, and 11 for 19 with three homers and three doubles in the last five games overall.
Scheduled Miami starter Carlos Zambrano (3-3, 3.00) allowed a season-high seven runs in five innings of an 8-4 loss to Colorado on May 23, but regrouped to beat Washington on Monday. He gave up three runs in six-plus innings of a 5-3 win. He has long struggled at Philadelphia, going 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA there with only one quality start in six outings. The Phillies (28-26) lost for third time in 10 games Saturday and also learned that reliever Jose Contreras is likely done for the season with a torn UCL and flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow. He was 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his previous 11 appearances before injuring himself during Friday's 6-4 win over Miami.
Over the last week or so our ficonsensus have fallen victim to reasons ranging from unfavorable weather conditions to not enough elements to make the cut. However in a sun drenched afternoon at Citiizens Bank, we expect opportunities to be taken from both sides as well as for us to catch a few breaks with the ball carrying well. A big reason the Marlins have overcome a slow start is due to their consistent pitching and offense, which has been lead by the surging Ramirez (.278 10 36) putting up numbers that most of us are accustomed to see. While Giancarlo Stanton (.298 13 40) has tremendous power and leads Miami in production, Omar Infante (.314 6 20) leads the team in hitting and others within this lineup could pose problems for Blanton. While Philadelphia has tried to escape the NL East basement, they have managed to stay close to the pack as evident by their .271 team BA. Of course the absence of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have complicated situations with RISP, and staying healthy has become an issue in 2012 for the fanatics. Hunter Pence (.274 13 34) has been the cornerstone of the power, while Carlos Ruiz (.371 8 32) is right behind Pence having a remarkable season leading the team in hitting. Zambrano will have to make quality pitches as guys like Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton, who have had subpar seasons to thi point, can hurt you if you give this lineup second chances to produce. Best of luck however you play as we try to make it 5 straight on Sunday!