After a much needed All-Star Break, the Miami Marlins come to Citizens Bank for a weekend series in front of fans with very low expectations.
These expectations come on the heals of a first half that saw the Phillies go 29-62, bad enough for last place in all of baseball.
The most disappointing facet (of many) for Philly is its starting pitching, which has only three wins since the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. That stat includes Cole Hamels who didn’t contribute any of those wins.
But the show must go on, as the Marlins look to attack an already damaged starting rotation and will face the likes of Adam Morgan, Chad Billingsley and Hamels for the three-game series.
Many questions come into play this second half for the Phils, the most important of which is whether or not Hamels can return to form, appealing to a trade suitor.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke has been speaking about another interesting second-half storyline, when Chase Utley will return, and he has been sticking to his guns, saying the second baseman will remain on the bench when he returns from the disabled list.
Thus giving Cesar Hernandez the everyday job. Many around baseball think the days of Chase Utley in Phillies pinstripes is reaching its end.
What also lies ahead is when or if Jonathon Papelbon and Hamels will be traded as the trade deadline looms. Names like Ben Revere and Jeff Francour as of late also have been floating around in trade talks with July 31 just 15 days away.
The other question Philly fans may ponder is if we will see top pitching prospect Aaron Nola by August or other potential future talent such as J.P. Crawford or Zach Eflin.
The second-half of the Major League season for the City of Brotherly Love has gone from playoff hunt to prospect hunt in just four years. Whether or not the rebuilding process is taking the next step in the next coming weeks remains to be seen.
For now we are stuck with the current team, a team that has performed poorly since opening day. Hopefully, a series win over the Marlins can begin the process of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.