The Miami Marlins are the greatest story that the national media doesn’t give attention to. For those of us that forgot, the Marlins were 57-105 last season. Now they are in the NLDS after sweeping the Cubs in the Wild Card Series. Yes, this Cubs team isn’t the same team that won in 2016, but they still have the firepower. The “bottom-feeder” Miami Marlins stared Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish in the face and beat them. They stared the Yankees in the face and beat them. They stared COVID-19 in the face and beat it. Now we look ahead to an NLDS matchup versus the Braves.
To see if the Marlins can continue their streak, we have to understand how we got here:
The Marlins were beaten up by the media for their trading of Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and JT Realmuto. Let’s look at where those guys are. Ozuna will play for the Braves versus us in the NLDS, Christian Yelich and his Brewers have been eliminated, Giancarlo Stanton is in the ALDS with the Yankees, and JT Realmuto and the Phillies were eliminated from postseason contention. On paper, those trades felt horrendous, but they have proven to be some of the more fruitful trades in Marlin’s history. You name a guy on this team, and he’s probably from one of those trades. Sandy Alcantara, Sixto Sanchez, Lewis Brinson, and Jorge Alfaro to name a few. What a story. This experience in the playoffs alone will quicken the learning curve for these players, solidifying a winning culture that Ozuna, Yelich, Stanton, and Realmuto never understood.
The Marlins had multiple experiences of being blown out this year. Past those few and far games (29-9 in Atlanta, 15-0 vs Washington), the Marlins pitching has been stupendous. Sandy, Sixto, and Pablo have all propelled this team forward. We didn’t get to see Pablo start this series (luckily), but Sandy and Sixto balled out. Sandy allowed only 1 run over 6 ⅔ and Sixto threw 5 shutout winnings with the help of some stellar defense. In 2 games versus an accomplished Cubs team, the Fish allowed a combined 1 run. 1 run?! Call me crazy but that’s Championship material right there.
Can we do it?
The Braves have given us issues. That’s true, but we have beaten them before. If the pitching is as strong as it was this past series, anything is possible. We will most likely see Pablo Lopez in game 1 (ironic considering he started that dreaded 29-9 game). Then, pending rest, we will see Sandy and Sixto. Those 3 guys can steal games. And versus a Braves team that has struggled in the playoffs before, why not us? This team plays without pressure. They are not supposed to be here.
But they are. Good luck to Atlanta, but I have a strange feeling the “bottom feeders” in Miami will ball out.