|12:05 PM PT1:05 PM MT2:05 PM CT3:05 PM ET15:05 ET19:05 GMT3:05 12:05 PM MST2:05 PM EST2:35 PM VEN23:05 UAE2:05 PM CT, September 29, 2019
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Attendance: 31,805
Harper, Phillies find something to play for vs. Marlins
The Philadelphia Phillies won't be throwing any parades down Broad Street following a season that fell short of expectations. There is, however, a carrot for the club to chase in Sunday's season finale against the visiting Miami Marlins.
The Phillies (81-80) can secure their first winning season since posting 102 victories in 2011 by completing a three-game series sweep of the cellar-dwelling Marlins (56-105).
Should it fall in the finale and finish .500, Philadelphia would settle for its first non-losing record since 2012 -- another 81-81 campaign.
Bryce Harper is finishing strong in his first season of a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies. The 2015 National League Most Valuable Player followed up his triple and double in Friday's 5-4 win in 15 innings by belting a three-run homer in a 9-3 victory Saturday.
"Gotta do it. Gotta go out there and win tomorrow," Harper told reporters after Saturday's game. "That's huge for us. It's not where we want to be, but winning seasons are good."
Harper's 35th homer served as his 72nd extra-base hit and propelled his RBI total to a career-best 114.
"Just trying to go up there and have good at-bats," the 26-year-old Harper said. "I want to go up there and do damage the best I can."
Harper is 4-for-9 with a double and two RBIs against right-hander Sandy Alcantara (5-14, 3.95 ERA), who will get the nod in the season finale looking to post what would be just his second win in his final 17 appearances.
Alcantara settled for a no-decision on Tuesday despite allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings against the New York Mets.
"Sandy was just Sandy (in that outing)," Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters of the game the Mets ultimately won 5-4. "It's what you expect. It's such a good thing that you expect Sandy to go six, seven, eight innings every time he goes out there. These have been really good signs for him."
Alcantara owns a 2-1 record in three career appearances versus the Phillies after splitting a pair of decisions this season. The 24-year-old fared well in the last encounter, permitting one run over 7 2/3 innings in a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on June 21.
Miami, which has won nine of 18 meetings against Philadelphia in 2019, last won the season set against the Phillies in 2008. Philadelphia won the World Series that year.
The Phillies elected against starting ace Aaron Nola in the season finale in favor of utilizing a bullpen game, with right-hander Blake Parker (3-2, 4.18) expected to get the nod to begin the contest.
Parker, who was one of seven relievers in Friday's 15-inning marathon, has turned in four straight scoreless relief outings spanning 4 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old has allowed one hit in two scoreless frames against Miami this season and has yet to record a decision in four career relief appearances versus the Marlins.
The bullpen should be relatively fresh as the Phillies answered Friday's game by relying on just right-handers Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta on Saturday.
Philadelphia should keep a keen eye on former Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro, who was traded to Miami in February as part of the J.T. Realmuto deal. Alfaro is batting a robust .432 (19-for-44) against his former team this season.
Miguel Rojas, who is 5-for-10 in the series, will serve as player-manager on Sunday to continue a tradition started by Mattingly in Miami.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 29, 2019