The Marlins split their doubleheader with the Nationals on Sunday, improving their record to 28-25. The Nationals dropped to 20-32. The Marlins remain the 5 seed in the NL but are only 1 game ahead of the Phillies and 1.5 games ahead of the Reds, Brewers, and Giants who sit in the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th spots, respectively. Even though the Marlins split the doubleheader, there is not much positive to note. They won game 1 on 2 error inducing runs and lost game 2 15-0. So instead, I will analyze the 7 most important games in the past 15 years of Marlins’ baseball.
4 games in Atlanta
The Marlins have split their season series with the Braves. In 6 games, they sit at 3-3. The Marlins have the arms of Trevor Rogers, Jose Urena, Sixto Sanchez, and Pablo Lopez going in these 4 games. A big note is that Max Fried (7-0, 1.96 ERA) is expected to pitch in the finale, which could spell trouble for a flailing Marlins lineup. Realistically, a series win would put the Marlins in a position where it would be hard to miss the playoffs, but a series loss would put them in the opposite realm of reality. The Marlins need to continue to rely on good starting pitching and timely bats. The 3-2, 2-1, and 1-0 wins aren’t pretty looking, but they get the job done. It is also important to mention that if the Marlins sweep the Braves, they would take 1st place in the NL East.
3 games in New York
Oh, boy. The Yankees have had their struggles this year, but it’s safe to say they found their stride. 9-1 in their last ten, the Bronx Bombers have been doing nothing but mashing recently, and now that they have clinched, the pressure is done for them. They will continue to swing the bats well, and I highly doubt the Marlins will be able to keep up. The Fish thrive on close, low-scoring games: something that won’t be the case in New York. The Yankees have plenty of offensive threats (maybe the most potent lineup the Fish have seen all year), ranging from Giancarlo Stanton to Gary Sanchez to DJ LeMahieu. Marlins pitching will have to be looking like game 1 of Sunday, not game 2, or this series, and our playoff hopes could fall apart fast.
Yes, these last 7 games will not be easy. But as a Marlin fan, even the idea we would have this opportunity feels completely out of the water. I think it’s safe to sit back and enjoy these last games, knowing that even if we don’t make it this year, there is a bright future ahead of us. Donnie has a plan. Let’s do this thing!