MIAMI (AP) – It’s becoming the same old story for the Philadelphia Phillies, whose recent offensive woes have brought them to the brink of their longest losing streak of the season.
Philadelphia’s struggling lineup again looks to get on track as the host Miami Marlins seek to complete a three-game sweep Thursday night.
The last-place Phillies (36-48) have scored 12 runs during their second six-game losing streak of the season and managed five singles in Wednesday’s 5-0 loss.
Leadoff man Ben Revere and No. 2 hitter Jimmy Rollins each went 2 for 4, but the rest of the lineup was 1 for 24 with two walks as Philadelphia went hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position. It has lost 10 of 12 following a season-best five-game winning streak.
“It’s hard to believe,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “Maybe it’s a pressing situation. We need somebody to get it going – everybody to feed off of somebody coming through.”
The Phillies look to end their skid while ruining the return of Marlins starter Brad Hand, who will be making his first appearance since going on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle May 24.
Hand (0-1, 6.38 ERA) hasn’t started since allowing five runs through three innings of a 9-2 loss to Washington on April 14.
The left-hander went 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in six rehab starts and said it felt good to get some innings as a starter after being used mainly as a long reliever by the Marlins.
Hand is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Phillies, most recently giving up one run and walking three in two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen in Miami’s 6-5 loss May 20.
He’ll oppose Kyle Kendrick, who’s consistently had trouble early in games.
Kendrick (3-8, 4.22) allowed all of Atlanta’s runs in the first two innings of Friday’s 4-2 loss, then settled down and finished with eight strikeouts over eight. The three runs he gave up in the first brought his total to 15 – 13 earned – in the first inning over his 15 starts.
“He just seems to fall behind and (tries to) be too perfect,” Sandberg said. “That results in some aggressive swings when he’s behind in the count. After that, he seems to figure it out.”
The right-hander gave up two runs in the first the last time he faced the Marlins (41-43) on May 21, finishing with six runs allowed over 5 2-3 innings of a 14-5 loss. Kendrick went 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his previous seven starts against Miami, including giving up three runs – two earned – in six innings of a 4-3 win April 13. He didn’t get the decision.
Casey McGehee is 4 for 11 with a homer and a double off Kendrick, and he went 2 for 3 with an RBI double Wednesday. McGehee is riding a nine-game hitting streak that began June 23 against the Phillies, and he’s batted .363 while reaching base in 26 straight games.
“It’s half a season,” said McGehee, hitting .312 after spending 2013 playing in Japan. “I’ve seen how quick things can change. I’ve got to keep going every day. If you start patting yourself on the back, this game has a nasty way of reminding you you’re not bigger than the game. It’ll hunt you down.”
Giancarlo Stanton can relate after hitting .452 over his previous 11 contests before going 0 for 3 on Wednesday. He’s 3 for 23 with eight strikeouts lifetime against Kendrick.
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