The Marlins claimed their first series victory of the season against the Mets this week. Can they make a habit out of it?
Miami resides in the National League East basement at 8-20, though the Marlins took two of three games from the Mets this week and are brimming with confidence.
"We believe we can do it," said third baseman Placido Polanco, a former Phillie. "If you look at the games we've lost, we've lost a lot of games by one run. Those games could have easily gone our way. They didn't. Now, we've won some by one run -- good games, close games. It tells you a lot about this team. Even though we're not hitting like we can, we're pitching, we're playing defense. We're playing hard and we're not making it easy on the other team."
Polanco will make his first voyage back to Philadelphia as the Marlins play the first of a four-game set at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday. Polanco played for the Phillies from 2002-05 and 2010-12.
"They had a full house every day, and it was fun," Polanco said. "We had a chance to go to the playoffs in two of the three years I was playing there. It was fun. They have good guys over there, good people in their organization."
The task Thursday won't be easy. Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (2-1, 2.41 ERA) has been one of baseball's best pitchers in the early going. He silenced the Mets in a three-hit shutout last Friday. In fact, over his past four outings, the 28-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA, averaging seven innings per start.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel noted that Kendrick seems more comfortable now with his role no longer in flux. He has a rotation spot locked down with the Phillies this season.
But Manuel added the recent success is more a result of a veteran finding a groove.
"I think what you're seeing is that Kendrick's gotten older, he's gotten stronger, he's bigger and he's in tremendous shape," Manuel said. "He's helped make himself that way because of his work ethic. His stuff is a little bit better. He throws a little harder than he used to. Things like that. His location has definitley gotten a lot better."
Marlins: Sanabia toes the rubber
• Alex Sanabia has lost consecutive decisions for the first time in his career. He'll try to avoid a third straight loss Thursday in Philadelphia.
The right-hander has compiled a 2-3 record with a 4.85 ERA in five starts this season. He has faced the Phillies once before, a 2011 outing at Citizens Bank Park in which he yielded just one run in six innings.
Phillies: Young makes grand return
• After spending most of April recovering from offseason microfracture surgery on his right ankle, Delmon Young homered in his first at-bat as a member of the Phillies on Tuesday. He was slotted at designated hitter Wednesday because of a sore right elbow stemming from a hit-by-pitch.
"Yeah, probably," said Manuel when asked if Young could be his right fielder Thursday. "Probably going to take a couple days for the soreness to get out of his arm, though."
• The Phillies took two of three from the Marlins in mid-April. Philadelphia won 10 of the clubs' 18 meetings last season.
• Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan has five hits in 11 at-bats against Kendrick.
• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has posted a 1.033 OPS against the Marlins. That's his third highest against any NL club and his best mark against the NL East.