Florida just did the Phils a favor by taking two of three from Atlanta, inching the Phillies closer (4.5 games) to the Braves. Philadelphia hopes to gain even more ground with yet another series victory this weekend. Post-game fireworks await fans at the conclusion of Saturday's game, but the Phils hope to create even more fireworks during the games. This should be an exciting series for baseball fans, in the city of brotherly love, who have suddenly caught a severe case of Phillies Phever. Without further adieu, lets take a look at the pitching matchups for this weekend's series.
July Fourth: Kevin Millwood (8-3) vs. Carl Pavano (6-6)
Kevin Millwood finally earned his eighth win of the season, against Baltimore last weekend and is looking for number nine. Millwood should be able to use his commanding fastball to stifle Marlins hitting. This game is crucial for the Phils ace as me makes a push for his second all-star game appearance.
Carl Pavano takes the hill for Florida in the first game of the series. Pavano is looking for redemption in this game, after not making an out in his last start against Boston, surrendering six earned runs. If the Phillies can get to Pavano early and often, and take advantage of his lack of confidence, it is possible the team could repeat it's 12 run performance from Thursday night.
Saturday July Fifth: Vicente Padilla (7-7) vs. Brad Penny (6-6)
Vicente Padilla has been a major reason for the Phils recent surge. The righty shut down Atlanta to give the team a series victory last week and went seven innings in an impressive outing against Chicago this past Monday. If Padilla can continue his streak of three straight victories it will be an added boost for this club.
Brad Penny has been a solid starter for the Marlins, tallying six wins, but has been inconsistent all season long. On good nights he can shut hitters down with varying pitches, but is easily rattled. The Phillies will need to be on top of their game on Saturday night.
Sunday July Sixth: Randy Wolf (9-3) vs. Mike Redman (6-3)
Randy Wolf has been the Phillies best pitcher, and is a possible starter in the all-star game. If the southpaw can throw another impressive outing he would surely help his cause. Wolf needs to get innings in this game and keep the Phils bullpen at rest as much as possible. If he can continue his success over the past month, then the Phillies could have their second straight weekend sweep.
Mike Redman is one of the Marlins young prospects, and has had a decent season. He has not been impressive, but with a 6-3 record he is on his way to a solid season.
If Marlon Byrd can improve on his 3-3 game with two doubles, a single and a walk on Thursday night, he could jet his way into the leadoff hole as the second half of the season approaches. Placido Polanco has been no slouch, as he is one of the top hitting infielders through the month of June. As a lineup, the Phillies are hitting well and it is impressive to see the way this team has played lately and exciting to anticipate how it will perform in the second half.
The Phillies and Marlins series' are always exciting and this one will be no different. The Phillies will continue to dominate in most phases of the game, and put on all sorts of fireworks during and after the games this weekend.
Philadelphia will sweep the Marlins.