Phils Hope Turnaround Continues in Florida

What have the Phillies done to commemorate the seventh week of the Major League Baseball season? They've won six of their last eight games against the Nationals, Cardinals and Orioles to be exact. Two of those teams are leading their respective divisions. The road ahead is just as tough in week eight as it was in week seven when the Phils travel to the sunshine state to take on the Marlins.

Don't look now, but the Phillies are generating some momentum. After winning their last three series, the club has finally put together a solid string of games both from the pitching staff and the offense. With Jim Thome coming off of the disabled list this past weekend, the lineup may finally have a chance to not only get healthy, but also continue this mini-roll it has been on as of late. But don't get too excited Phillies fans, the division leading Florida Marlins are next on the schedule.

In the series opener, Jon Lieber (5-3) will be opposed by Dontrelle Willis (7-1). Lieber who was off to a fast start going 4-1 in his first five starts has lost his previous two outings. It will be difficult for Lieber to get back on the winning track against a Marlins team that has dominated the Phillies in recent years. Willis has been on fire this season posting an ERA of 1.45. Should Lieber pitch some quality innings in his first match up with Florida this season to follow the complete game gem thrown by Corey Lidle on Sunday, then this series will definitely be off to the kind of start that would benefit the Phils.

In the second game of the series Tuesday night, Brett Myers (4-2) will be on the hill against Josh Beckett (6-3). Myers looks to finally have turned the corner in his career. His delivery has been better than in years past and he has mastered control of a curveball that is getting nastier each and every start. He will need run support against Beckett though, and those runs may be hard to come by against him. Beckett has been solid this year and his 2.47 ERA reflects that. On paper, this game looks to be a classic pitchers duel.

The rubber match will feature Randy Wolf (3-4) against Al Leiter (2-4). Leiter has been off to a terrible start of the season. When he signed with the Marlins before this season he was hoping to recapture past glory from the days when he won a World Series championship with the Fish in 1997 but that simply hasn't been the case. This game represents the Phillies best chances of putting some runs together. If the offense can come alive similar to the way it played against Baltimore over the weekend, a win in this match up should be expected.

Prediction: This series is going to be crucial for the Phillies. It appears that this club may finally be coming together as a group, after a very successful week against some tough competition. Everything will have to go right for Philadelphia to come out of this series with two wins, but against the likes of Al Leiter and behind Brett Myers' strong arm, the Phillies will find a way to scrap their way to another series win.


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