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MIAMI — The Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Gibson Jersey , who are trying to catch the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, would love nothing better than to sweep three games from the Miami Marlins this week.The host Marlins, in last place in the same division after Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, would love nothing better than to spoil the Phillies’ plan.“We are going to be playing teams that are contending for the postseason,” said Marlins infielder Martin Prado, referencing six remaining games against the Phillies and five against the Washington Nationals. “I hope we start a winning streak.”Article continues below ...The Phillies, of course, have different ideas. But the Phillies have struggled of late, going 8-15 since Aug. 8, and that includes Sunday’s 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs.On Monday, Philadelphia will start veteran right-hander Vince Velasquez (9-9 Logan Morrison Jersey , 4.05 ERA). And Velasquez, just like his team, has struggled of late, posting a 5.87 ERA in his past four starts.A 26-year-old native of California, Velasquez was a second-round pick of the Houston Astros in 2010. He made his major league debut with Houston in 2015 and began his Phillies career in 2016.Blessed with an above-average fastball at 94.1 mph, Velasquez is 20-23 with a 4.32 ERA in the span of his career. His nine wins this year are already a career high, and he has beaten the Marlins twice this year.In those two wins, Velasquez has pitched 12 1/3 innings, allowing just six hits, two walks and one run, striking out 13.Miami will counter with right-hander Jose Urena (4-12 Orlando Arcia Jersey , 4.56 ERA), who throws even harder than Velasquez at 95.8 mph on average and touching 98 mph.Urena is 0-1 with one no-decision against the Phillies this season, allowing 11 hits, five walks and six earned runs in 11 innings.In addition, Urena has not really taken advantage of the big dimensions of Marlins Park, posting a 1-9 record and a 4.45 home ERA so far this season.He also went 1-2 with a 5.33 ERA in August, which was not encouraging for the pitcher who is supposed to be Miami’s ace after a 14-7 record and a 3.82 ERA in 2017.Urena will face a Phillies lineup that entered Sunday ranked 15th in homers, 20th in the majors in runs scored, 23rd in OPS and 29th in doubles.The Phillies’ offense is led by left fielder Rhys Hoskins, who has 27 homers and 83 RBIs in his first full year in the majors. He also has an impressive 45 homers in 177 career games.Philadelphia on Sunday also started two players acquired within the past several weeks from the New York Mets: third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and right fielder Jose Bautista.Cabrera, who beat the Chicago Cubs on Friday night with a walk-off Jonathan Villar Jersey , 10th-inning solo home run, is confident that the Phillies team he joined in July has enough skill to get the playoffs this year.“We’ve got a really good team,” Cabrera told philly.com. “I believe in this team. We’re trying to show the younger guys how much fun it is to win at this level.” FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Dustin Pedroia feels ready for opening day. Considering what it took to get to that point, the Boston Red Sox are erring on the side of caution.Pedroia will miss Boston’s opener for the second straight season, staying in extended spring training to rehab his left knee, on which he had surgeries each of the past two offseasons. Pedroia, a key figure for the Red Sox during most of his 13-year career, believes he’s ready to go but understands why the reigning World Series champions are hesitant.“It is what it is,” he said. “I don’t think the team was expecting me to come in and look the way I look, so they just want to make sure they do it right. That’s basically it. They’ve had to hold me back. I mean http://www.brewersfanproshop.com/authentic-orlando-arcia-jersey , I’m ready for opening day. It’s just that they’re scared. No one’s ever come back from something like this.”The 2008 AL MVP started at second base against the split-squad Rays on Thursday night and will play in some of the remaining exhibition games in Florida and when Boston travels to Arizona to play the Cubs on Monday and Tuesday.The team just isn’t confident he could be ready for the season opener March 28 against the Mariners in Seattle.“We’re running out of time,” manager Alex Cora said. “There’s been no setbacks, nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just that we feel we need more time to do the back-to-backs, more innings. There’s no target date (for his activation).”Cora wants to keep Pedroia progressing steadily. The 35-year-old Pedroia has three years remaining on a $110 million, eight-year contract, and Boston wants to get as many games out of him in that time as possible.“This is not only for this year,” Cora said. “It’s a plan for three years. We need him to keep playing and he’ll be OK.”“I feel like I’m ready, but they want to see how my knee responds when I (play back-to-back games),” Pedroia said. “Which I understand. I appreciate that. So, we’ll just go from there.”

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