This is a 1* free play on the Philadelphia Phillies over the Miami Marlins on Friday night (7:10 EST).
John Lannan (0-0, 3.86 ERA) gets the call for the visitors. Lannan looked good in his debut, giving up three runs off five hits over seven frames vs. the Royals on Saturday. Lannan would finish with five K's in the no decision (note that Lannan was 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA on the road last year). Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.97 ERA) toes the rubber for the home side. Nolasco gave up three runs and six hits over 5 1/3's frames of work in his team's eventual 7-3 setback to the Mets last Saturday (note that Nolasco was a very pedestrian 6-6 with a 4.52 ERA at home last season). These lineups are clearly moving in opposite directions. The Phillies took two-straight from the Mets over the weekend, led by Ryan Howard who homered in Tuesday's 8-3 victory, and who was 2 for 4 in his team's 7-3 win over New York on Wednesday: "It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish," Howard said yesterday. "I'd rather have a slow start and finish up strong and be in the playoffs and go deep in the playoffs in October. As long as we get going, that's all that matters." Philadelphia has now plated 25 runs over its last four outings, while going yard three times in each of the last two. The Fish are off to a dismal 1-8 start, which represents the team's worst since 1998. Their most recent series vs. the Braves saw them outscored 13-2 and shutout twice. In fact, the Marlins' 16 runs are the fewest in all of MLB, and their .217 average is among the worst in the league. I'm going to give the slight nod to Lannan on the mound, and with a clear advantage at the plate, in my opinion the prudent wager in this one is indeed on Philadelphia. What do you think?