Carlos Santana Finishing Strong as Phillies Look to Finally Finish Off a Series

Can the Phillies finally win a series? After dropping five consecutive series and seven of the last eight, the Phillies are in position to take two of three from the lowly Marlins. 

Tuesday night was a rare offensive outburst for the Phils. They won 9-4 after scoring a total of five runs in their previous four games. 

Phillies (73-65) at Marlins (55-84)

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Nick Pivetta (7-10, 4.66 ERA) vs. Sandy Alcantara (1-0, 1.80)

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. 
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Streaming: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports App
Phillies Pregame Live begins at 6:30 p.m. ET

Updating the races

The Braves lost to the Red Sox Tuesday for the second night in a row. Atlanta has been outscored 13-3 in the series, which ends this afternoon.

Heading into Wednesday, the Phillies were three games behind the Braves with 24 to play, seven of which are head-to-head. 

In the wild-card race, the Phils still trail the Cardinals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks for the second and final spot. The Brewers occupy the first wild-card. The division race is more winnable at this point because there's only one team to chase. 

Avoid a dud

The Phillies' offense finally had a night to feel good about, scoring six runs in the first two innings to essentially put the Marlins away. The Phillies haven't had many of those nights this season, when the game was well in-hand and they could take a sigh of relief. 

But the nine-run night will mean little if the Phillies follow it up with another one- or two-run effort against an anonymous right-hander. 

The last four times the Phillies have scored seven-plus runs in a game, they've averaged 2.75 runs the next night. 

Santana finishing strong

Carlos Santana has hit .309 over his last 19 games with five doubles, four homers and 13 RBI in 73 plate appearances. 

As a result, he's up to .227 on the season, the highest his batting average has been since June 23. Phillies fans, by and large, have not enjoyed Santana's first season here. It will be interesting to see how his season is viewed in retrospect if he finishes hitting around .240/.360/.440 with 25 homers and 90 RBI. Those numbers aren't too far away from where he currently is in each category. 

Good matchup for Pivetta

Big ballpark, strikeout-prone offense ... Nick Pivetta is positioned to have a strong outing tonight and boy, do the Phillies need it. 

Pivetta this season has allowed just two runs on eight hits to the Marlins in 11 2/3 innings with no walks and 16 strikeouts.

In six August starts, Pivetta had two clunkers but kept the Phillies in the other four games, allowing zero, one, two and two runs. 

No active Marlin has ever walked or homered off Pivetta, in 40 collective plate appearances. Brian Anderson has the only extra-base hit, a double. 

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