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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – The Philadelphia Phillies are trying to end an otherwise lost season on a high note and bring a four-game winning streak into the final series of the campaign. After rain postponed the series opener, the Phillies attempt to keep the positive momentum going when they host the Miami Marlins in a doubleheader on Saturday.

Philadelphia fans can point to the fact that their team is not packing it in down the stretch as a reason to be optimistic about the future, and the Phillies kept the rival New York Mets from clinching home-field advantage in their first-round playoff series with a three-game sweep to begin the week. The future looked bright in the 3-0 finale win on Thursday, when rookie Jerad Eickhoff struck out 10 in seven innings and Darin Ruf clubbed a two-run homer. The Marlins are having a little more trouble sprinting to the finish and were swept in a three-game series at Tampa Bay to begin the week. Miami’s Tom Koehler will face fellow veteran Aaron Harang in the opener while rookies Justin Nicolino and Alec Asher will battle in the nightcap.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

GAME 1: Marlins RH Tom Koehler (11-14, 4.00) vs. Phillies RH Aaron Harang (6-15, 4.86)

GAME 2: Marlins LH Justin Nicolino (4-4, 4.16) vs. Phillies RH Alec Asher (0-5, 9.00)

Koehler recorded his third victory in four outings on Sunday despite allowing four runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 9-5 win over Atlanta. The lone setback in that span came versus Philadelphia,when the 29-year-old also surrendered four runs in five frames of a 6-2 loss. Koehler was taken deep in that contest, marking the lone homer he’s surrendered in his last five contests.

Harang is putting together a solid stretch drive with three earned runs or fewer allowed in each of his last three starts. The San Diego native surrendered two runs and five hits in six innings at Washington on Sunday but was held out of the decision when the offense exploded late in the 12-5 win. Harang’s lone win since the end of July came at Miami on Sep. 22, when he allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Nicolino is coming off one of his best outings since joining the major-league team, holding Atlanta to one run and two hits in seven innings on Saturday. The 23-year-old did not strike out a batter in that start and has yet to fan more than four in an outing. Nicolino’s major-league high of four strikeouts came against Philadelphia on Aug. 22, when he yielded two runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings without factoring in the decision.

WALK-OFFS

  1. The Marlins have reportedly interviewed Manny Acta and Bo Porter for their managerial job, which is expected to be open after the season.
  2. Phillies 3B Maikel Franco (wrist) was activated from the disabled list and could play this weekend.
  3. Miami 2B Dee Gordon needs two hits and four steals to mark the 13th 200-hit/60-steal campaign in major-league history.

PREDICTION:

GAME 1: Marlins 4, Phillies 3

GAME 2: Marlins 4, Phillies 3

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