Keith Hernandez might not be a fan, but the Philadelphia Phillies are slowly winning over other skeptics with their play over the past two months.
Winners of seven straight, Philadelphia looks to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Miami Marlins on Thursday.
The Phillies have won 12 oftheir last 13 games and are 40-19 under interim manager Rob Thomson. Their most recent victory was one of their most impressive all season.
Trailing 3-1 against Miami ace Sandy Alcantara, the Phillies rallied with three runs on six hits in the eighth inning to secure a 4-3 victory.
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto delivered a two-out, game-winning RBI single in the win, giving him 26 RBIs in his last 25 games.
Hernandez, the former New York Mets' first baseman and current SNY broadcaster, drew attention after criticizing the Phillies' fundamentals earlier this week.
"I heard about it," Thomson said. "He's a good baseball man and I respect his opinion but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it because I don't."
Philadelphia has won its last six meetings against the Marlins, who have lost nine of 11.
One bright spot for Miami has been the play of rookie outfielder JJ Bleday, who singled, doubled, tripled and drove in a run in Wednesday's contest.
"JJ puts good at-bats together, and really, it's going to be a matter of shortening the route and really just tightening up his swing to a point, because he gets himself good pitches to hit, he's not a big chase guy," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Fellow rookie Charles Leblanc extended his on-base streak to start his career to 10 consecutive games with a second-inning single. He is batting .455 (17-for-39) during the stretch.
Miami will send right-hander Edward Cabrera (2-1, 2.61 ERA) to the mound for the series finale. He returned after spending almost two months on the injured list with right elbow tendinitis and tossed five scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs last Friday.
Cabrera, 24, walked three and struck out eight while throwing 78 pitches.
"Cabrera was good," Mattingly said. "I thought he was aggressive. Early, a little bit off command wise. But as the game went on, it looked like he got better. He kept blending the off-speed stuff. Couldn't ask for much more than that for a guy coming back off rehab."
Cabrera is making his first career appearance versus Philadelphia. He has made just four starts this season after missing the beginning of the campaign with a right biceps injury.
Philadelphia will counter with right-hander Kyle Gibson (7-4, 4.36), who has won three of his last four starts.
Gibson, 34, allowed one run on two hits over eight innings in a 7-2 win over the Washington Nationals last Friday. He retired his first 18 batters and threw 105 pitches in the victory.
"His two-seamer was really good," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "His cutter was good. He didn't throw a slider for a strike until, like, the third time through the order. But man, that was pretty nasty."
Joey Wendle is 7-for-20 against Gibson, who is 1-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three previous starts versus Miami this season.
--Field Level Media