Phillies (51-83) at Marlins (66-68)
7:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com 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.