Phillies look to salvage series split vs. Marlins

The Miami Marlins are on the verge of winning a four-game series against the major leagues’ top team, but they’ll need to overcome one of their key deficiencies in order to complete the task.

The Marlins have struggled against left-handed starters all season and will encounter one of MLB’s best in the series finale against the host Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon.

Miami has won two of the first three games in the series but will be challenged by Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez (10-2, 1.83 ERA), who leads the majors in ERA. The Marlins are 4-25 when facing left-handed starters this season.

Suarez gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings in a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday in his most recent start.

Josh Bell is 2-for-14 with a home run against Suarez, who is 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 19 career games (eight starts) vs. Miami.

The Marlins will counter with right-hander Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 2.70), who has made a pair of encouraging starts since being recalled from Triple-A Jacksonville.

Chirinos, 30, received a no-decision after allowing one run on three hits over five innings against the Kansas City Royals last Tuesday.

“He’s got an interesting mix,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “He’s got a sinker that he throws at the top of the zone; he can get it under the barrel. He’s got the slider and split. He’s a challenging pitcher.”

Chirinos will make his first career start (second appearance) against Philadelphia. He allowed three runs over 2 2/3 innings of relief while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays on July 5, 2023.

Miami holds the momentum after Nick Gordon homered and Jazz Chisholm Jr. delivered a tie-breaking RBI single in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 3-2 victory. Four Miami relievers combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings.

“It’s obviously great for our team and our confidence,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “We have a chance to win a series.”

The Phillies have scored a total of four runs in the past two games without injured stars Bryce Harper (hamstring strain) and Kyle Schwarber (groin strain). Catcher J.T. Realmuto also is out following right knee surgery.

“I think Schwarber and Harper, there’s a chance — a good chance — they’ll come back before the All-Star break,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said of the two, who are on the 10-day injured list. “But having said that, we want to make sure they’re completely healed.”

Realmuto hopes to return in mid-July for Philadelphia, which is 1-for-15 in the last two games with runners in scoring position.

“I think sometimes guys try a little bit harder in those situations,” Philadelphia shortstop Trea Turner said after Saturday’s game. “I know today it was probably the case with me. I just tried to do too much and missed some good pitches to hit and then started chasing. It’s really easy to look at it from afar, but then when you are out there, it’s hard not to try a little harder.”

The Phillies are seeking a spark from center fielder Johan Rojas, who has started both games since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.

Rojas earned his second stint with Philadelphia this season after going 13-for-34 (.382) with one homer and six stolen bases in eight games with Lehigh Valley.

–Field Level Media