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Fish at Phils 7:05pm Citizen's Bank Park


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Nolasco faces Hamels in series opener

Florida (76-77) at Philadelphia (79-73), 7:05 p.m. ET

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

Wild Card reality pretty much comes down to this: The Marlins need to be close to perfect in their final nine games.

"We've got to win most of them," manager Joe Girardi said. "To me, that means eight or nine. And then you've got to hope for some help with San Diego and L.A."

 

It's basically all or nothing when the Marlins take on the Phillies on Friday night in the first of three at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

 

The Marlins head to Philadelphia having gained a four-game split with the Mets, winning the last two.

 

Of Florida's final nine games, six are against Philadelphia. In the series opener, a couple of talented rookies take the mound. Ricky Nolasco (11-9, 4.56) goes for his 12th win, while the Phillies are turning to lefty Cole Hamels (8-8, 4.21).

 

Considering the fact the Marlins have stayed in Wild Card contention this long already makes this season a success. If the Marlins can't secure the National League Wild Card, and chances are slim, they are hopeful of unseating Philadelphia for second place in the National League East.

 

Finishing second has some financial incentive. Teams winding up first and second get extra money. In the case of second place, after taxes, each player would get about $7,000.

 

"Your first goal is to win the Wild Card," veteran Wes Helms said. "If you don't win the Wild Card, you want to finish over .500, and second in the division. You don't want to come this far and have everybody talk about what the Marlins have done with a young ballclub and a low payroll, and then all of a sudden in the last 10 games fall back to earth. We want to finish strong. We want people to talk about us as a good team."

 

For the Marlins to have a successful swing through Philadelphia, they'll have to contain slugger Ryan Howard. The All-Star first baseman has 57 home runs and 140 RBIs.

 

"We're not going to let him beat us," Girardi said. "When I say that, you hope your pitcher doesn't make mistakes like they did last time."

 

Girardi's reference is to a game at Dolphin Stadium a few weeks ago. Howard homered twice in that game on Sept. 8, the first coming when rookie left-hander Scott Olsen was trying to be careful with the slugger, but made a mistake that was belted into the seats.

 

"The interesting thing all about this is people forget they are still babies, they're still young players," Girardi said. "They're still learning how to do things right. And they're still learning how not to make mistakes.

 

"To me, it's all about learning how to pitch in September, when it counts. It's all different now, because now the whole team is counting on you. In April, in a sense, the magnitude of that game on May 1 is different than it is on Sept. 22, when you are trying to make the playoffs and there are 24 other guys relying on you."

 

Pitching matchup

FLA: RHP Ricky Nolasco (11-9, 4.56)

Questions regarding Nolasco's right leg were quickly answered in the rookie's last start. Recovering from a sore muscle behind his right knee, the 23-year-old tossed six strong innings at Atlanta, throwing 93 pitches and allowing one run. It was Nolasco's first start since Aug. 30 at St. Louis. The right-hander was not involved in the decision at Atlanta, and he seeks his first win since Aug. 13 at Arizona.

 

PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (8-8, 4.21)

Hamels, a rookie left-hander, bedazzled the Astros for the second time in two weeks on Saturday with 7 2/3 solid innings and only two runs allowed. Actually, he pitched a no-hitter through 6 2/3 frames of that game, surrendered just three hits and struck out 11 batters. Now, Hamels has won four of his last six decisions, and he has three outings this season of 11-plus strikeouts.

 

Player to watch

Howard had done a great deal of damage to the Marlins all season. In 12 games, he has eight home runs and 15 RBIs. He's also walked 16 times. At Citizens Bank Park, Howard is 9-for-19 (.474) with five homers and nine RBIs against Florida.

 

On the Internet

MLB.TV

Gameday Audio

? Gameday

? Official game notes

 

On television

? SUN

 

 

On radio

? 560 WQAM, 1140 WQBA(Espa?ol)

 

Up next

? Saturday: Marlins (RHP Brian Moehler, 7-9, 6.09) at Phillies (RHP Jon Lieber, 8-10, 5.03), 1:20 p.m. ET

? Sunday: Marlins (LHP Scott Olsen, 12-8, 3.87) at Phillies (LHP Jamie Moyer, 9-14, 4.27), 1:35 p.m. ET

? Monday: Off-day

 

 

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

 

 

.500 again?

I have been saying we're down and out since I went to Tuesday's game and we've won since then, so...

WE'RE NOT WINNING THE WILD CARD ;)

 

GO FISH!

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mlb.com

Nolasco faces Hamels in series opener

Florida (76-77) at Philadelphia (79-73), 7:05 p.m. ET

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

 

Pitching matchup

FLA: RHP Ricky Nolasco (11-9, 4.56)

Questions regarding Nolasco's right leg were quickly answered in the rookie's last start. Recovering from a sore muscle behind his right knee, the 23-year-old stud tossed six strong innings at Atlanta, throwing 93 pitches and allowing one run on a lucky shot by that loser Jeff Francouer. It was Nolasco's first start since Aug. 30 at St. Louis. The right-hander was not involved in the decision at Atlanta, and tonight he will get his first win since Aug. 13 at Arizona. I, Joe Frisaro, want to make sweet love to Ricky Nolasco.

 

PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (8-8, 4.21)

Hamels, a rookie left-hander, bedazzled the Astros for the second time in two weeks on Saturday with 7 2/3 solid innings and only two runs allowed. Actually, he soiled himself after 6 2/3 frames of that game, surrendered just three hits and struck out 11 batters.

 

Player to watch

Howard had done a great deal of damage to the Marlins all season. In 12 games, he has eight home runs and 15 RBIs. He's also walked 16 times. At Citizens Bank Park, Howard is 9-for-19 (.474) with five homers and nine RBIs against Florida. Scott Olsen said "he hits like a girl, I was trying to help him out that last game. Ryan Howard loves little boys and draws unicorns in his locker pre-game."

 

 

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

 

 

Wow, Frisaro's getting wierd these days. I can't believe what Olsen said either. That's just odd.

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