Phillies-Marlins thoughts: All set for a pitchers' duel at Marlins Park?

Phillies-Marlins thoughts: All set for a pitchers' duel at Marlins Park?

Phillies (51-83) at Marlins (66-68)
7:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

After the Phillies picked up their second straight win Friday, here are some thoughts prior to the third of four games with the Fish in Marlins Park this weekend:

• Friday's 2-1 win is one of the many types of games that normally have gone against the Phillies this season. They have 31 one-run losses, the most in baseball, and typically would have put up a little fight down 1-0 in the ninth or blown their newfound lead soon after scoring two. 

In picking up the save, Hector Neris looked quite sharp. Four swinging strikes in 10 total pitches while pitching a 1-2-3 inning against Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto. That's an impressive inning of work. 

Maikel Franco and Jorge Alfaro had the big hits in the inning, but you can't overlook Andres Blanco's game-winning groundout. You never see guys pump their fist on a 4-3 groundout, but those GOs don't usually come with the winning RBI. Big AB from the veteran, who did his job with men on third and first with one out. 

• Saturday night is as close to a pitchers' duel on paper as these two teams can provide with Aaron Nola vs. Dan Straily. That says a lot about how far the two pitchers have come this year. Straily has followed up last season's strong results with better peripherals and fewer home runs, albeit in a much bigger ballpark. 

And Nola is Nola. He comes into Saturday with a 10-9 record and a 3.46 ERA in 137 2/3 innings. His 1.184 WHIP is a career best, as are his 141 strikeouts. 

• Straily has been effective against the Phillies this season, although his 4.08 ERA in three starts may indicate otherwise. However, in 17 2/3 innings, he's struck out 27 batters and walked seven. He's been done in by 20 hits, but those strikeouts stand out.

He's come back down to earth slightly in the second half, though that was mostly because of a bad July. A brief rise in his home run rate was the culprit as his K-BB ratio has actually improved significantly since the All-Star break.

Franco has the best numbers of any Phillie regular against Straily, going 4 for 9 with a walk against the right-hander. Daniel Nava is 3 for 3 with a home run while Cameron Rupp has a home run in two at-bats.  

• Nola was rocked by the Fish two starts ago on Aug. 22. It was easily his worst start of the season. He allowed two home runs, making the appearance his first multi-homer game since May 26 and just his second overall this season. He rebounded vs. the Braves, but Atlanta isn't much of a test. Despite the spacious confines of Marlins Park, the Marlins are much tougher for the Phils' righty.

Giancarlo Stanton, Ichiro Suzuki and Ozuna each have a home run off Nola in their careers. Stanton is 3 for 6 with a double and the HR against Nola. He's the only Marlin with multiple extra-base hits off him.

• Stanton is a beast in every sense, especially against the Phillies. However, this series has started out differently for the 51-homer slugger. He's 0 for 7 with two walks and three strikeouts in the first two games. 

However, don't fool yourself: He's still dangerous. He's 12 for 49 with seven home runs (and seven walks) against the Phillies this year. The seven blasts are his most against any one team in 2017.

Rhys Hoskins' 13-game hitting streak came to an end Friday with an 0 for 3 evening. Time to declare him a bust, right? Just kidding! He's still gone 5 for 18 (.278) with two walks in his last five games, a solid line since his last game with a homer.

Friday was his first three-strikeout game, though. He's maintained impressive plate discipline since coming up, so how he responds against a pitcher like Straily that can rack up strikeouts will be intriguing to watch. Not that anything Hoskins does would be considered unintriguing!

• The Phillies are now 6-8 against the Fish this year. They have winning records against just two teams: the Braves (12-4) and the Giants (4-3). 

• Triple A Lehigh Valley picked up a win on Friday over Scranton Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees' affiliate. Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford each had hits while Dylan Cozens provided the big blow with a go-ahead three-run homer that swung the game.

The IronPigs are two games back in the wild-card standings in the International League with just three games left, so a playoff appearance is unlikely. Assuming they miss out on the playoffs, that means potential call-ups would be coming Tuesday to join the Phillies at Citi Field after Labor Day.

Edubray Ramos had his fourth straight scoreless outing Friday. In the seven innings since his bad outing against the Giants on Aug. 19, he's allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out nine. 

Meanwhile, Hoby Milner hasn't given up a run in more than a month. In his last 15 games, he's held opponents to 11 hits and four walks in 11 2/3 innings while striking out six. He has a .354 OBP against in that span but opponents have just a .286 slugging percentage against the southpaw.

• Finally, the Phillies are aiming to win three straight for the first time since Aug. 6-9. They haven't won the first two games of any month this season. 

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Justin Turner hits walk-off HR to give Dodgers 2-0 lead over Cubs

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MLB Playoffs: Justin Turner hits walk-off HR to give Dodgers 2-0 lead over Cubs


LOS ANGELES -- Justin Turner hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

The red-bearded slugger connected on the 29th anniversary of the Dodgers' last game-ending postseason homer: Kirk Gibson's famous pinch-hit drive to beat Oakland in the 1988 World Series opener.

"One of my earliest baseball memories, I was 4 years old at my grandma's house watching that game in `88 and seeing Gibby hit that homer," a smiling Turner said. "So yeah, it feels pretty cool. I thought about doing the fist pump around the bases, but we'll wait until we get to the World Series for that, hopefully."

Turner drove in every run for Los Angeles, going the other way for a tying single in the fifth before sending a long shot to center field off John Lackey in the ninth. A fan wearing a blue Dodgers jersey reached over a railing to catch the ball on the fly.

Turner's second homer of the postseason ended another dramatic night for the Dodgers, who remained unbeaten in these playoffs and moved within two wins of their first World Series appearance since 1988.

"It's very cool, and J.T., we were talking about it in there after the game," manager Dave Roberts said. "Twenty-nine years to the day. It was special. Our guys feel it."

Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Midseason acquisition Yu Darvish starts for the Dodgers against Kyle Hendricks.

Yasiel Puig drew his third walk of the game leading off the ninth, and Charlie Culberson bunted him to second. After losing pitcher Brian Duensing struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Chicago manager Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for the 38-year-old Lackey, who pitched on consecutive days for the first time in his 15-year career.

Lackey got the call over All-Star closer Wade Davis, and the veteran starter walked Chris Taylor on six tense pitches.

Turner stepped up and ended it with his fourth career playoff homer. He's been at his best in October, batting .377 with 22 RBIs in the postseason.

"We've been doing it all year long," Turner said. "We're never out of a game. As long as we have outs left, we're going to keep fighting."

Completing the poetry of the moment, a fan in a Chase Utley jersey in the center-field bleachers caught the ball in his glove.

Addison Russell homered in the fifth for the Cubs, who are down early in this rematch of the 2016 NLCS. Chicago won that series in six games and went on to its first World Series championship since 1908, while the Dodgers have been absent from the Fall Classic since 1988.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen got the victory with a hitless ninth despite hitting Anthony Rizzo on the hand with a one-out pitch. That ended the Los Angeles bullpen's impressive streak of 22 straight Cubs retired to begin the NLCS, but the Dodgers have thrown eight hitless and scoreless innings of relief in the NLCS.

After a collective offensive effort drove the Dodgers to a 5-2 win in Game 1, Turner did it all in Game 2. He has 10 RBIs in the Dodgers' five postseason games, getting five in the playoff opener against Arizona.

Jon Lester yielded three hits and five walks while failing to get out of the fifth inning in the shortest start of his long postseason career, but the Dodgers couldn't take advantage of a rare shaky night by the Cubs' star left-hander.

Rich Hill struck out eight in five more impressive innings for the Dodgers, but he was pulled for pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson in the fifth in a debatable decision by Roberts.

Russell was off to a 4-for-22 start in the postseason with nine strikeouts before the slugging shortstop put a leadoff homer into the short porch in left field.

Turner evened it moments later by poking a single to right after a leadoff double by Culberson, the Dodgers' improbably successful replacement for injured All-Star shortstop Corey Seager.

The Dodgers chased Lester with two outs in the fifth, but reliever Carl Edwards Jr. came through after several recent postseason struggles, striking out pinch-hitter Chase Utley and then pitching a strong sixth.

Lester was the co-MVP of last season's NLCS, winning Game 5 at Dodger Stadium and yielding two runs over 13 innings in the series. He had nothing near the same success against the Dodgers' revamped lineup in this one, issuing four walks in the first four innings and repeatedly escaping jams.

Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward held up Turner in the third when it appeared he could have scored from first on Cody Bellinger's double to the gap.

Javier Baez, the other co-MVP of last season's NLCS for Chicago, got to third base in the third with one out but also was stranded.

Up next
Cubs: Hendricks dominated Chicago's playoff opener with seven scoreless innings against the Nationals, but yielded four runs in four innings during the team's wild Game 5 victory in Washington. He is starting on normal rest.

Dodgers: Darvish was outstanding in Game 3 against the Diamondbacks, earning his first career postseason victory with seven strikeouts over five innings of two-hit ball. He was acquired