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Marlins Vie for Series Win vs Phillies

NL East Rivals Split First Two Games

The Miami Marlins try to win a second straight game when they face the host Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game series between National League East rivals on Thursday night. The first pitch for this contest is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

The Marlins evened the series with an 11-6 win on Wednesday night, improving their record to 34-45. Miami is in last place in the NL East, sitting 3½ games behind the fourth-place Phillies.

Pablo Lopez of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies
Eric Espada/Getty Images/AFP

Philadelphia dropped to 37-41 with Thursday’s setback, the team’s seventh straight game alternating between wins and losses. The Phillies are a half-game behind the third-place Atlanta Braves and three games behind the second-place Washington Nationals.

If you want to bet on this game, the MLB odds have the Phillies as the favorite at -122, while the Marlins are listed at +112. The over/under for the series finale is set at 7½ runs.

Welcome Addition

Newly acquired Joe Panik got into his first game with Miami in Wednesday’s game with Philadelphia and he made an immediate first impression. Panik, who Miami traded for from Toronto on Tuesday, homered in his first at-bat and drove in the go-ahead run to finish 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

“He puts at-bats together and I think that’s what you look at when you really look at clubs that are tough to get through,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said of Panik after Wednesday’s win. “It is like when you get six, seven, eight guys doing that, having those types of at-bats — not that you’re always going to get hits and it’s not always going to be that many pitches — but those kind of at-bats wear guys down. That’s how you win a lot of games when you’ve got guys like that.”

The 30-year-old second baseman batted .246 with six doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs and nine runs scored in 42 games with the Blue Jays this season. Miami dealt away outfielder Corey Dickerson and pitcher Adam Cimber to acquire him.

Outfielder Adam Duvall got into the act with his team-leading 18th home run on Wednesday, upping his team-best RBI total to 56. Duvall has homered in both games of this series, going 4-for-9 with three RBIs and four runs scored.

Right-hander Pablo Lopez will get the start in the series finale, bringing a 4-4 record and 2.87 ERA to the mound. Lopez has 94 strikeouts and 22 walks in 91 innings.

Lopez was 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in five starts in June, winning his last two decisions. His last start was a win against the Nationals on Friday, as he went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits, including a home run, while striking out nine and walking one.

Needing Consistency

The Phillies just can’t seem to put things together on a consistent basis, as shown by their up-and-down record over the last week. Just when Philadelphia looks ready to make a move up the division standings, it starts to lose again.

One thing that would help would be production from Bryce Harper, though that didn’t make a difference in Wednesday’s loss. Harper had two home runs and finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Hitting two home runs is nice, but having them both be solo homers means others aren’t getting on base in front of him.

Harper has 13 home runs along with 10 doubles, 23 RBIs and 39 runs scored in 58 games. He leads the team with a .275 batting average.

First baseman Rhys Hoskins has been the team’s most consistent power hitter, leading the team with 16 doubles, 17 home runs, 44 RBIs and 41 runs scored. Hoskins was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts on Wednesday, coming on as a pinch hitter.

The Phillies will send right-hander Zach Eflin to the mound for his 16th start of the season on Thursday. Eflin is 2-6 with a 4.20 ERA, striking out 87 and walking 11 in 90 innings.

Eflin has lost his last five decisions, with his last win coming on May 7. He made four starts in June, going 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. His last outing was Saturday against the New York Mets and he took a no-decision after logging six innings and allowing one run on five hits while striking out four and walking one.

Marlins Win Series

Miami showed a spark on Wednesday behind Panik and Duvall. The Marlins have the edge on the mound in this one, and they’ll ride that to a second straight win over their division rivals.

When doing your MLB betting, take Miami to win on the road.

Pick: Miami Marlins +112

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