MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins have been playing some of their best baseball over the past couple weeks and will run into a team that’s also been playing well.
The Philadelphia Phillies have relied on youth for some time now, so the trade of another veteran only supports that eye toward the future.
With Chase Utley now gone, the visiting Phillies move on by trying for a fifth consecutive victory over the Marlins on Thursday night.
Hours after news broke that the six-time All-Star second baseman was in the process of being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a pair of prospects, Philadelphia (47-73) snapped a four-game skid with Wednesday’s 7-4 victory over Toronto. Since breaking into the majors in 2003, Utley had played his entire career with the Phillies.
He joins starter Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon as the big names Philadelphia has traded during a third straight disappointing season. Only Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz remain from the Phillies team that won the 2008 World Series.
“The hardest part is leaving the city of Philadelphia,” Utley said. “They’ve been so supportive of me for so long and I can’t thank them enough.”
In his first full season, Cesar Hernandez should see most of the time at second the rest of the year but is 3 for 21 in the last five games. Rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera, however, is batting .349 while hitting safely in 19 of his last 20 contests.
Also a potential part of the Phillies’ future, outfielder Aaron Altherr had three RBIs and clubbed a two-run homer for one of the two hits in his second career game Wednesday.
“It was good to be out there and get that first hit out of the way,” he said. “I hope I can just keep producing up here and helping the team win.”
After struggling for most of the season, 33-year-old Jerome Williams (4-8, 5.47 ERA) is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts this month. He also hasn’t issued a walk through 13 innings of the last two.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts this season against the Marlins (49-71), who were swept in a three-game set at Philadelphia in the teams’ most recent meeting July 17-19.
Miami appeared in good position to complete a series sweep of Milwaukee on Wednesday, but blew an early 4-0 lead en route to an 8-7 defeat. Justin Bour hit a two-run homer and Derek Dietrich had three hits as the Marlins lost for the third time in the last nine games.
“Very pleased with the offense,” said manager Dan Jennings, whose team has totaled 28 runs and 46 hits in the last four contests. “The quality of the at-bats speak for themselves. Usually you score seven runs, you feel pretty good about coming out on top.”
Dietrich is 8 for 16 in those four games.
Cole Gillespie had two hits for a second straight day and is batting .472 with six RBIs in his last 10 contests.
Dee Gordon has batted .373 in the last 13 games, .409 in five against Philadelphia this season and is 4 for 9 when opposing Williams.
Miami’s Brad Hand (2-3, 4.74) is 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts against the Phillies but last faced them in that capacity in 2014. The left-hander makes a fourth straight start trying to rebound from yielding six runs and 11 hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss at St. Louis on Saturday.
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