The Phillies were three outs away from a win Saturday night before Ranger Suárez threw seven pitches, allowed two runs, and the game was tied.
Twenty minutes later, a heavy rainstorm sent the game into its second rain delay and the game was suspended until Sunday afternoon.
The Phillies and Marlins will resume the game in the 10th inning with the score tied at 2 at 1:05 p.m. before they play the series finale at Citizens Bank Park approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
Jon Berti will start the 10th inning for the Marlins with a runner on second base. Berti had a 1-1 count against Jose Alvarado when the game was suspended. The top of the order — Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, and Bryce Harper — are due up for the Phillies in the bottom of the 10th.
Suárez blows it
Suárez had been impressive since being moved into the closer’s role, but even he couldn’t escape the troubles the Phillies have faced this season in the ninth inning.
Starling Marte started the ninth by beating the shift with a grounder to the second-base hole and Jesus Aguilar followed with a homer. The Phillies lead the majors this season with 23 blown saves. Suárez is the third closer the Phillies have tried. Their ninth-inning troubles roll on.
Velasquez carves Fish
Imagine if Vince Velasquez faced the Marlins every fifth day.
He shut out the Marlins for five innings and has now held them scoreless this season for 18 innings over three starts. Velasquez has a 0.00 ERA against the Marlins this season and a 6.52 ERA against the rest of the league.
The right-hander was impressive as he struck out four, walked two, and allowed just one hit. He would have pitched one more inning had the game not been delayed by rain just after Velasquez dropped a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the fifth.
He wasn’t afraid to throw his fastball at the top of the zone and he used the elevated fastball for two of his four strikeouts. Velasquez mixed in an effective changeup and slider to keep the Marlins off balance.
Velasquez’ rotation spot seemed to be in question after he ended the first half by lasting less than three innings in a rough start at Fenway Park. He had allowed 13 runs in his previous 8⅓ innings before the Marlins arrived in town. That was just what he needed.
Ducks on the pond
The Phillies scored twice in the first inning and then failed to tack on additional runs that would have provided Suarez with some protection. They ended three innings with runners on third base, went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position through nine innings, and left seven men on base.
The last time Héctor Neris pitched in South Philly, he was blitzed for six runs and recorded just two outs. Nearly two weeks later, he looks like a different pitcher.
Neris logged two scoreless innings as he handled the sixth and seventh after Velasquez was lifted. Neris has not allowed an earned run in five straight appearances since his July 4 disaster against San Diego.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi said a few days after that meltdown that he would look for chances to rebuild Neris’ confidence. He seemed to do that on the team’s seven-game road trip before the All-Star break and he used him Friday night for six key outs. Neris recorded half of his outs on strikeouts and retired six of the seven batters he faced.
Across the state, the Mets placed Francisco Lindor on the injured list with an oblique injury and shut down Jacob deGrom with forearm tightness before they played in Pittsburgh. The Phillies already have baseball’s easiest schedule in the second half and catching the Mets could become a little easier if the division leaders are without their stars.
Two wins on Sunday would put the Phillies two games over .500 for the first time since May 18. The National League East was underwhelming in the first half, but the division race should get interesting in the second. The Braves have already made two trades and the Mets have been rumored this week to be after Kris Bryant of the Cubs. The Phillies, if they want to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, won’t be able to stand pat.
After Saturday’s game is completed, Zack Wheeler will make his first start of the second half in Sunday’s series finale. Wheeler leads the majors in innings, so the Phillies were pleased when he threw just three pitches in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. Pablo López was scheduled to pitch for the Marlins, but he was placed on the injured list on Saturday afternoon.