(Sports Network) - The Marlins have been playing better since Jack McKeon took over in late June. Hopefully the interim manager has some tips on how to beat the Phillies.
Florida looks for a rare win over its National League East rivals this evening as it faces surprising Philadelphia starter Vance Worley in the opener of a three-game series at Sun Life Stadium.
The Marlins have split 12 games since McKeon took over for Edwin Rodriguez, who resigned on June 19. Bench coach Brandon Hyde also served as manager for a game before McKeon was hired.
While .500 ball usually isn't much to get excited about, Florida had lost 19 of 20 prior to the manager switch and is coming off back-to-back road series victories at Oakland and Texas.
The Fish picked up their fourth victory in five games on Sunday, rallying for a 6-4 triumph over the Rangers. Logan Morrison hit a key two-run double during a four-run eighth inning, while Emilio Bonifacio had three hits, drove in a run and scored once.
Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez, selected to the National League All-Star team on Sunday, each knocked in a run.
The Marlins may find it tough to continue their momentum versus the Phillies, who swept a four-game set from Florida at home from June 14-16 and have won seven of the nine meetings overall this year. Philadelphia has taken 16 of its last 19 versus the Marlins and 18 of the past 22 played in Miami.
Worley will make his fourth start for the Phillies today since joining the rotation on June 18 due to injury. He has exceeded expectations in that span, allowing just two runs over 18 innings.
The righty did not factor into the decision of his first two starts before beating Boston on Wednesday. He gave up a run on five hits over a career-high seven innings, striking out five to claim a 2-1 victory.
"I think a game like tonight is great for his confidence," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said of Worley, who is 3-1 with a 2.57 earned run average in nine games this year, including seven starts.
Worley, 23, faced the Marlins on Sept. 6 of last season in just his second major-league game, taking a loss after allowing two runs over five innings in the start. He also faced Florida in relief on May 9 of this year, giving up a run over three innings of a 6-4 win.
Starting for the Marlins is Ricky Nolasco, who ended a four-decision losing streak in a big way on Wednesday to claim his first victory since May 24.
Nolasco hurled a five-hit shutout versus Oakland, walking two and striking out three in a 3-0 win. It was the first complete game of the season for the right-hander and second shutout of his career.
"I was going to let him go all the way. Some of these guys need to find out that they can go nine innings. That should be the goal of every pitcher on every club, to go nine. Unfortunately, we won't let them," McKeon said.
Nolasco improved to 5-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 17 starts this year, which includes a start versus the Phillies on May 11. The 28-year-old gave up two runs -- one earned -- over 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision and is 6-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 13 games versus them, including 10 starts.
He'll battle a Phillies club that leads the NL East by four games over the Braves, but is coming off its second loss in seven games. Philadelphia failed to secure a three-game sweep of Toronto after All-Star Cliff Lee was hit for three homers in the eighth inning of a 7-4 setback on Sunday.
Lee came into the game having thrown three straight shutouts, but was tagged for seven runs -- six earned -- over 7 1/3 innings and failed to hold a 4-3 cushion after serving up the long balls.
"They were able to chip away a few runs throughout the game and they had a big eighth inning. I felt like I made decent pitches. Sometimes they hit good pitches too," said Lee.
Jimmy Rollins had a two-run single in defeat for the Phillies, who host the Braves following this set.