Voices

Kim Ng Marlins

What Kim Ng Means for the Marlins

It has been quite a rocky road for women in sports. Just ask Kim Ng, the new General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Although her resume speaks for itself (30 years in the sport, two Assistant GM roles, three World Series championships), she has consistently found herself on the short end of the stick. Finally, a team has given her a chance, and as a Miami native, I couldn’t be more proud that the Marlins were the team to pull the trigger. 

Let’s first set the record straight. This is not just a breakthrough for women in sports, it is a breakthrough for the Marlins. Kim was far and away the best choice for the job. With her experience and inherent comfort working in baseball front office, the choice was easy. Within her press conference yesterday, these sentiments were expressed to the fullest extent. Let’s take a look at what Kim Ng talked about and what this means for a promising Miami Marlins future. 

Kim Ng

There were over 100 people at the press conference yesterday. This is not just a local news story, but one that has garnered national attention. Early on, it was clear that Kim has a special bond with both Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly, which will allow her transition to be smooth and effective. As questions rolled in about her past and what led her here, she gracefully expressed her humble origins. Stickball in the streets of Queens growing up, applying a positive mindset to the seemingly insurmountable odds that laid ahead, and her failure is simply an opportunity for growth mentality helped to show her poise in this situation. We got to learn a lot about her and her talents. 

“When I got the job, I felt a huge weight of pressure lift off of my left shoulder. But after 30 minutes, I felt it transition to my right shoulder,” she said. Ng understands that getting this job is the first step. There is plenty more that has to be done to make the Miami Marlins a championship-level team. She expressed that she will continue to utilize everything that she has learned to do this.

What this means for the Marlins

Because of the national attention that this signing received, there was a lack of questions revolving around where Kim will actually take the team. Her personal story of triumph highlighted the day. And although this is clearly deserving, we are left wondering what route she will take to achieve that aforementioned success.

In our recent Youtube video, David, Alejandro, and I talked about where she can take this team. The conclusion we came to was clear. If she trusts the Farm System that has been developed, Kim can potentially put together a winning team internally. Otherwise, she will have to make deals involving our younger talent to win now. Based on our previous year (which was most likely not determinant of how good this team actually is), she will be forced to either accelerate the timeline or simply continue on the path that was originally set. If she decides to do the former, we will go over all of our free agent/trade options in an upcoming video.

All in all, we most likely will not know what is next until Kim Ng makes her first tangible move as GM. Until then, we wait.

News

Would the Marlins have made the playoffs in a full season? A statistical argument

We watched the Miami Marlins overcome all of the odds and make the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. Along the way, we had two Gold Glove nominees (Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas) and the *soon to be NL Manager of the Year (Don Mattingly). This run by the Marlins sparked a lot of questions. Can we do it again? Would this have been a reality in a 162 game season? Are we actually this good?

 

At this point, there is no point in meticulously analyzing how the Marlins did what they did; rather, I find it useful to use the information available to us in order to look ahead to what they can do next year. This team had a completely different look from the Marlins teams of previous years. This means that our sample size of stats is extremely small. That’s not good for predicting anything, let alone an entire team’s future. So instead of predicting the unpredictable based on internal Marlins stats, I will compare this Marlins team and their statistical rankings to teams of the past 5 years. In order to grasp how good the Marlins actually were, we can compare them to other teams who were similarly statistically through 60 games. Then, by extrapolating the most relevant data, we can show where the Marlins most likely would have ended up had the season gone 162. We will look at the main statistics that drive team success: wRC+, x-FIP, and team WAA.

 

wRC+ (True batting stat)

 

Weighted runs created plus is a major stat that influences team success. It is a statistic very similar to runs created, although it accounts for ballparks and era. A wRC+ of 100 is league average, whereas 150 is 50% above that average.

 

Through the Marlins 60 games, they had a wRC+ of 95. This was good enough for 18th in all of baseball (and 5th in the NL East). We will use this statistic to compare the offensive output of this Marlins team to other teams that draw parallels.

 

Teams that we will compare this Marlins team wRC+ to:

 

  1. 2019 Nationals

I know. This is quite a bold comparison. But you guessed it, through half of the 2019 season the World Series champs had a wRC+ of 95 (the same as the Marlins, but good enough for 16th place in all of baseball). 

 

It is important to note that the Nationals finished the regular season with a second-half wRC+ of 113 which was good enough for 4th in all of baseball. This turn around is unprecedented and one that may have been the rare outlier. The Nationals fell back to their statistical mean in 2020, however, finishing in the last place in the NL East. An interesting observation can be made here. The Marlins may have slipped from their statistical mean in these 60 games, allowing themselves to propel into the playoffs. It would not be a shocking revelation that they, like the Nats, could fall back into their true average. 

 

Result: 93-69, 2nd in NL East, World Series Champions

  1. 2018 Pirates

This one may make a little more sense. Through the first half of the 2018 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a wRC+ of 95 good enough for 14th in all of baseball. They followed a much more similar path to this Marlins team.

 

The reason that this team provides such a good comparison is because of who was on it. Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, and Francisco Cervelli all were Pirates in 2018. These 3 guys accounted for a bulk of our offense, especially the former two. I’ll take this moment to shoutout and congratulate Francisco Cervelli on an amazing career: Thank you! This Pirates team stayed consistent, posting a 96 wRC+ in the second half. Had we done this as well, especially with the tough NL East, we may have ended in a similar spot.

 

Result: 82-79, 4th in NL East, Missed Playoffs

 

  1. 2017 Diamondbacks

 

The Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 had a wRC+ of 94 through the first half of the season. Their below average wRC+ is comparable to the Marlins, and unlike the 2019 Nats, this team did not propel forward afterward. They finished the season with a 96 wRC+, leaving them in 2nd place in the NL West, which was good enough for a Wild Card Birth. This shows that if the Marlins would have kept this pace going, they could have found themselves in a playoff spot after a 162 game season.

 

Result: 93-69, 2nd in NL West, Lost in NLDS (Hmmm… Sounds familiar)

 

Based off of wRC+, the Marlins were most likely good enough this year to at worst end .500 and whiff the playoffs due to the larger sample size of games that would have allowed teams like the Mets and Phillies (both top 10 in wRC+) to heat up and surpass them. Likewise, you could make the case they could have won the World Series as well, although the mean implies that their offensive output most likely would have led to a similar route to that of the 2018 Diamondbacks and lead to a loss in the NLDS. 

x-FIP (true pitching statistic)

 

So, basically, x-FIP can be applied almost the same way we do ERA. Inherently, it is the same statistic as ERA, but it factors out defensive errors and other aspects that pitchers cannot control. A 5.00 x-FIP is awful and a 2.70 x-FIP is fantastic. Apply the same structure of thought to x-FIP as to ERA. Say a pitcher has a 3.10 ERA and a 2.65 x-FIP. We can conclude he will probably lower his ERA eventually as he works back to his statistical mean.

 

This is where things start to look bad. The Marlins had a whoppingly high 4.90 x-FIP. This was bad enough for 26th in the entire league this season. In order to maintain consistency, we will compare the Marlins x-FIP to the same teams we did before, to see if they differed in any way.

 

  1. 2019 Washington Nationals

 

This is most likely the reason that the Marlins would not have experienced a similar run to that of the Washington Nationals. The Nats had an x-FIP of 4.29, good enough for 6th in the league their first half of play. Surprisingly, it rose during their stupendous 2nd half run to 4.38 and 11th in the league. It looks like their hitting turnaround carried them in the 2nd half. The Marlins don’t have that luxury. Also, to be completely frank, the difference between the Nationals and Marlins x-FIP is staggering. Because of this, we could probably eliminate a World Series run.

 

  1. 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

The Pirates had an even better x-FIP than the Nats, putting up a 4.14 in the first half of the season in 2018 that was good enough for 16th in the league. They were 13th in the league to finish it off, showing that they were in fact the middle of the road team. This Pirates team was good, but just not good enough due to an extremely tough division in 2018. This sounds quite familiar and is the most accurate comparison to this Marlins team through 60 games when it comes to pitching ability.

 

  1. 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks

 

In the first half of their NLDS run, the Diamondbacks were 3rd in the league in x-FIP at 3.81. In the 2nd half, they were just as good, finishing 5th with an x-FIP of 3.94. The Marlins are nowhere near this reality, and because of that, their similarities on the offensive end are completely overshadowed. Because of the Marlins division being extremely strong, and through 60 we got lucky they played well below their statistical average, we can assume that this Marlins team’s pitching would have struggled later on, as they regressed to their statistical average.

 

Team WAA (WAR but team-based)

 

By looking at pitching and hitting statistics individually, it shows that our hitting was just good enough for a Wild Card/NLDS appearance and our pitching was good enough to get dead last in the division. Between those two statistics alone, it is clear through 162 that we would not have been a playoff team. Let’s take a look at one final cumulative stat (WAA – wins above average) in order to solidify these observations.

 

The Marlins were 20th in WAA at -1.5. This means that on average they., as a team, would have produced 1.5 less wins than the league average. Doesn’t look too optimal if you ask me.

 

Let’s make our final comparisons:

  1. 2019 Washington Nationals

 

The Nationals WAA was 14.8, good enough for 5th place. We would not have gone on their type of run in a 162 game season.

 

  1. 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

The Pirates had a WAA of -.9. This was good enough for 18th place in the league, and we can draw similarities to this Marlins team just as the two previous stats have.

 

  1. 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks

 

The D-Backs topped all 4 of these teams with a WAA of 15.7 in 2017, good enough for 6th in the league. The Marlins would most likely not have been able to maintain a level of play anywhere near this.

 

In Conclusion

 

The Miami Marlins played above their statistical average in 2020. Yes, it was an amazing ride, but sadly it may not be sustainable. Their true means lie closest to the Pittsburgh Pirates of 2018, a team that went 82-79 and missed the playoffs in a tough division. Making rough estimates, we could have probably expected a 76-86 2020 season had it gone full. I know using these stats may seem irrelevant, but stats like x-FIP are most likely the reason the Miami Marlins will not resign Brandon Kintzler (he had a 2.22 ERA, but an x-FIP in the 5s meaning he is due for regression). Hopefully, this was informative as it provides a baseline for what the Marlins truly were this year. It shows us that there is room for growth. And that’s all we can ask for.

 

Marlins Drop Game 2

The Atlanta Braves played our own game and beat us. Countless of us have realized that if we are to beat the juggernaut Braves, we would have to keep each game low scoring. Yesterday, in the Braves’ 2-0 win, we did just that. The Braves only put up runs on Dansby Swanson and Travis D’arnaud solo home runs. Pablo Lopez looked great for the Marlins otherwise, but that still wasn’t enough. The bats have chosen a bad time to go dormant, and with their backs against the wall, this cannot continue.

 

Pablo Lopez did his job for the Marlins

 

In his first career playoff start, Pablo Lopez went 5 innings allowing 2 runs versus one of the most potent offenses in the league. We have talked extensively here on the network, whether it be in these articles or the youtube, about how the key to victory against Atlanta lies in holding their hitting back. It is truly a disheartening sight to see for Marlins fans. They did what they were supposed to and still lost. Pablo pitched great but lost his battle with Ian Anderson, who went 5 ⅔ innings of scoreless baseball. The issue lied today in the hitting, which starkly contrasts game 1. 

Alfaro for Wallach

 

The most notable change that must be made in Chad Wallach to Jorge Alfaro. Wallach is a measly 1-13 in Postseason play, with 0 RBIs, 0 extra-base hits, and 5 strikeouts. The decision to put Wallach in as the starter lied in his comfortability with the pitchers, but in this series with the Braves, it hasn’t mattered much. 11 runs have been allowed with Wallach behind the plate, and it’s hard to say Alfaro would make it any worse. Alfaro provides a stronger bat in the lineup with more pop. A career .262 hitter, Alfaro gives more depth to a floundering lineup, a depth that could push the Marlins over the top. I’d rather take Alfaro in a game-winning situation at the plate than Wallach. Give the young buck a chance.

 

Looking at today’s Marlins game: Could it be our last?

 

Well, if it is, it has been quite the run. The bottom feeders won’t go out without a fight, but unless the bats get out of their slump fast, we could be saying goodbye to Marlins baseball. We have Sixto Sanchez on the mound versus the Braves Kyle Wright. Backs against the wall. October baseball. There is nothing better.

The Marlins: A Cinderella Story

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:

 

Trades

 

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.

 

Marlins Pitching

 

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. 

Marlins vs Cubs Preview

The Marlins at long last find themselves in the playoffs. The Fish are 2/2 in World Series runs in their previous attempts, but this streak should not be of concern. There is a new winning culture here in Miami that will hopefully lead to a level of consistency we have never seen before. This Wednesday, the Marlins kick off a 4-game series versus the Chicago Cubs. We all know what happened the last time these two teams squared up in the postseason in ‘03. This should be fun.

 

Pitching, pitching, and more pitching

 

Well, fun for the pitchers that is. Both the Marlins and Cubs find themselves with solid staff. Looking first at the Marlins, a 1-2-3 punch of Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.00 ERA), Sixto Sanchez (3-2, 3.46 ERA), and Pablo Lopez (6-4, 3.61 ERA) is definitely a scary sight for anyone to see, especially in a 3-game series. These guys are young, electric, and hungry, and on the right day they can shut down any offense thrown their way. The Cubs are no slobs on the mound either, arguably having a more talented staff. Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA) made a Cy Young run, Kyle Hendricks (6-5, 2.88 ERA) did Kyle Hendricks’ things. And if those two aren’t enough, the Cubs have Alec Mills (5-5, 4.48 ERA) who threw a no-hitter this year, and postseason hero Jon Lester (3-3, 5.16 ERA) to pitch third. This will be a clash of 6 extremely talented arms, and most likely the winner of that battle will win the series.

 

Marlins Bats: Alive or Dead?

 

The Marlins have struggled all year to find consistency at the plate. The Marlins have the 17th best on-base percentage (.319) in baseball. The question is whether they will be able to score once the runners get on. Being 2nd in stolen bases (51), the Marlins are going to need to utilize their speed on the base paths. Runs will not come easy in Chicago. The marlins find themselves at the bottom of the league in slugging percentage and.OPS, so they have to make each runner count. If they can play small ball and take advantage of small mistakes made by the Cubs, they will have a shot to put up enough runs for Sandy, Sixto, or Pablo to hold on.

 

Let’s enjoy this

 

We waited 17 years to experience a Miami Marlins playoff game. That’s a lot of time, and we don’t know what will happen next year. Game 1 starts Wednesday at 2 pm on ABC. Tune in, have fun, and watch the Fish “Ride the Wave.”

A Marlins Playoff Berth On Jose Day

I have been a Marlins fan since I was born. At the ripe age of 2 years old, my family took me to the ‘03 parade. I have had season tickets 4 different times, found myself at hundreds of games, and bought way too many MLB.TV packages. In 2013, my passion for the team evolved further through the game of Jose Fernandez. I watched every start, going to see him on my birthday twice. I was hooked to Marlins baseball and their firecracker Cuban righty. I still remember the morning of September 25th, when we all found out the horrific news. As I watched MLB Network, I didn’t comprehend, rather couldn’t believe my eyes. I slowly walked into my parents’ room to tell them the news. Tears. 

 

September 25th marked the loss of a Miami icon. One that would have sparked the young Miami Marlins into the stratosphere. It was a date that Marlins fans would hold close to heart. A hero to countless Cuban immigrants and thousands of young South Florida pitchers (like myself), Jose Fernandez lost his life in a boating accident.

 

Up until yesterday, September 25th served as a reminder of the man we lost. There is and always will be a sense of dread on that day, as we remember the life Jose brought to the world. The stories. The strikeouts. The smile. 

 

Now, September 25th will be a reminder of Jose and the first time in 17 years that the Marlins have made the playoffs. Like it was out of a movie, we clinched this berth on #JoseDay. Call it our “Angels in the Outfield” moment. Jose may be gone, but his legacy will live on forever, especially now.

 

How did this full-circle moment happen?

 

More specifically, how did we even make the playoffs? The Marlins were 57-105 last year, and no that is not a typo. We were that bad. And statistically, we didn’t evolve that much this year. Statistically, we are the worst MLB team to ever make the playoffs. With a run differential per game of -.7 runs, we find ourselves at the bottom of statistics such as .OBP and WHIP, two of the most commonly cited stats that determine team success. Was it luck? Was it Jose pushing for us from above? Maybe, but there are two central determinants in this team’s unlikely success: culture change and shortened season.

 

Culture change

 

Jose Fernandez helped to start evolving Marlin’s culture in his short time with the team. When we lost him, there was a need to start over. Whatever your thoughts are on the trades that followed, the Marlins organization identified what had to be done. Keep the players who brought in to the change and pick up players who did as well. Miguel Rojas was the centerpiece as he has been one of the most vocal advocates for what this team has done. Pieces such as Lewis Brinson, Starling Marte, and Sixto effectively pushed the culture forward as each player bought in. This shift can be seen in Jorge Alfaro’s description of the Miami Marlins as a “family.” They bought in and told themselves they could do it, and here they are.

 

Shortened season

 

This goes hand in hand with culture. When every individual buys into a singular mentality, they find themselves working towards a collective goal. The opportunity to effectively start at Game 102 tied with every team in the league allowed this culture to develop artificially. The hot 7-1 start augmented these internal beliefs across the organization. It pushed them forward, and it told them that this pipe dream was possible. More and more players bought in. And here we are with October baseball in our near future.

 

Final Thoughts on the Marlins Run

 

Jose Fernandez would be smiling looking down at this team. These guys practiced what he preached every time he took the field. Play hard and have fun. Don Mattingly should be the Manager of the Year without question, due to his ability to impart the shift in culture.

 

September 25th will no longer be a day of grief, but rather one that shows us anything is possible. Jose would be proud.

 

Marlins Playoff Odds Decreasing

Honestly, I think we are all getting worried. The Marlins 9-4 loss last night versus the Braves marks their 4th straight loss in must-win games. The Fish fall to 28-28 and the Phillies climb to 28-29. This means that a Marlins loss tonight would even up the Phillies and Marlins, as the Phillies do not play. The Wild Card seems unlikely as well because the Giants and the Reds both sit a game above .500. Let’s first analyze last’s nightmare before we take a look at possible ways the Marlins can still pull this off.

 

Last 4 games we took an L, but tonight we bounce back… hopefully

 

The Marlins went into last night with Sixto on the mound. Most of us expected a low scoring pitching battle between Cy Young candidate Max Fried and our gunslinging young ace. Instead, Sixto allowed 4 runs over 3 innings, and Max Fried left the game after just 1 inning (injury) allowing 2 runs. The Marlins just can’t outhit this Braves lineup, so if the pitching falters, we lose, as seen in all 3 of these games. Josh A. Smith got the loss, allowing 5 runs in his 1 inning of work, allowing the Braves to turn a 4-4 tie into a 9-4 lead. Sadly, this showing from the Marlins in this game and others recently have highlighted a central issue within the team: their youth. It was hidden at the younger points of the season behind our new veterans, but as the season is coming to a close, it is evident that this team just may not be ready. We can’t expect all of our young guys to play like Tyler Herro. And that’s okay.

 

Playoff Possibilities

 

At this point, the only thing the Marlins should be worried about is getting 2nd in the NL East. The Wild Card seems like a pipe dream the way we are playing when put in contrast to the way the Reds and Giants are playing. Let’s instead take a look at what has to happen to get 2nd in the East. 

 

The Phillies are 28-29. The Marlins are 28-28. The tiebreaker would be the season head-to-head, in which the Marlins are up 7-3. We just have to tie the Phillies. The Phillies have 3 games versus the Tampa Bay Rays. If they go 3-0, we must go 3-1. If they go 2-1, we must go 2-2. If they go, 1-2, we must go 1-3. If they get swept, we can lose all 4. The Marlins clubhouse wants to control their own destiny though, and that can be done by winning 3 or more games in their final 4. The magic number is still 3, and we all know it.

 

Marlins vs Braves Finale

 

The Marlins look to salvage one win versus the Braves tonight as Pablo Lopez takes on Ian Anderson at 7:10 pm. This is shaping to be a fun last weekend of baseball. It all comes down to this.

Marlins Magic Number at 3

No, the Marlins did not win. No, they did not even come close. Another blowout win for the Braves puts the Marlins run differential at -37. Granted that differential is being dragged down by the 4 games in which the Marlins have been obliterated. Luckily, and most importantly, the Marlins’ magic number drops to 3, with 5 games remaining. The Phillies lost both games of their doubleheader versus the Nationals. 

Mattingly isn’t worried

 

“Once you get in with this format that we have — you know if you get in and you have pitching, you have a chance,” said Mattingly after last night’s tough loss. Even though there have been a few outlier games, Pitching has been the most consistent aspect of this team. Tomorrow, the Marlins’ present and future ace Sixto Sanchez takes the mound. Mattingly seems at ease because if the Marlins do make the postseason, Sixto, Sandy, and Pablo are a very dangerous 1-2-3 punch. Urena faltered last night, allowing 4 earned over 6 innings of work, but he is a perfect 4th in the rotation: a veteran with good stuff. It will be interesting to see who gets the 5th spot. Braxton Garrett and Trevor Rogers serve as the most likely choices, but both have had their recent struggles. If this team can push itself into the postseason, a hot pitching streak could push them further.

5 games left

 

5 games determine if the Marlins break the 17-year long streak without a playoff appearance. I have not consciously experienced a Marlins’ playoff game because I was about 2 years old during the ‘03 run. After years of season tickets, thousands of games on TV, and hundreds of thousands of MLB.TV updates, I am ready. The Marlins are ready. It is time for them to buckle down and win 3 of these games and prove that this team is capable of the improbable. Miami is ready to see their baseball team actually compete. Sixto leads the charge tonight.

Marlins vs Braves, Phillies vs Nationals

 

Yes, we have Sixto on the mound; but the Braves have their Cy Young candidate Max Fried. Game 3 will be no easier than games 1 and 2. The Fish are going to have to wake up their slumbering bats and put together good at-bats to get there. The Phillies play the Nationals again. Every Phillies’ loss is a Marlins’ win, so pay attention to both games. Marlins play the Braves at 7:10 PM and the Phillies take on the Nationals at 6:05 PM.

Marlins Lose to Braves 5-4

The Marlins played in the first game of a huge 4-game series with the Braves last night. They ended up losing the game 5-4, but their grit was evident throughout the game.  They moved closer to a playoff berth, as the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies. This keeps the Marlins in 2nd place in the NL East with 6 games remaining in the year. The 6 most important games in 15 years of Marlins’ baseball.

 

Explosive start, slow ending

 

The Marlins came out swinging in this game. 3 early runs on a bunch of singles put the Marlins in an advantageous position, but they failed to capitalize the rest of the way only putting up 1 more run. The biggest missed opportunity came with Starling Marte at the plate in the 8th, as he lined a 111 MPH swing straight to Austin Riley to get the Braves out of a bases-loaded jam. This rocket off the bat had a 74% chance of being a hit and giving the Marlins the lead. The Fish stalled out in the 9th after Monte Harrison got caught trying to take an extra base. It was the right move, but Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson just made the better play.

 

Trevor Rogers struggles

 

Trevor Rogers was given a 3 run 1st inning lead to work with. That lasted a whole 2 outs in the bottom half, as he allowed 4 runs on a bunch of hits and walks. It was reported that in his last start, Rogers was tipping pitches, and maybe that was the case initially last night. Rogers can be a very strong piece of the Marlins’ young rotation if he figures it out. He has the stuff.

 

Marlins vs the World

 

I have talked repeatedly about the importance of these last 6 games. Tomorrow, veteran Jose Urena gets a crack on the mound in a game “that matters.” Jose Urena starts tomorrow versus Bryse Wilson of the Braves. It’s up to this Marlins squad to do the unthinkable. Can they do it?

 

Playoff Roadblocks for Marlins

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.

 

The Marlins have defied the odds

 

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!

Marlins Beat Nationals 7-3

Without a doubt, we can all feel how close the Marlins are. In my conscious lifetime, I have not watched a Marlins team in the playoffs. But here we are. 9 games left, 2nd in the division, 2.5 back of the first place. The Fish recognize this as well, as Garrett Cooper said, “It’s a team effort… We’re close to the finish line, and we’re close to something that this organization hasn’t done in a long time. Everyone knows that.” The Marlins certainly came out swing like that was the case, beating the Nationals 7-3 on 15 hits.

 

Marlins-Nationals Recap

 

Pablo Lopez started for the Marlins versus Patrick Corbin of the Nationals. Corbin has been quite effective against the Marlins recently, but last night ended that. The Marlins put up 7 runs on 14 hits in Corbin’s 6 innings of work. The bats are heating up just in time. Miguel Rojas continues to produce as the centerpiece of the offensive attack, going ⅗ with a leadoff home run. Garrett Cooper added a 2-run homer. Pablo Lopez, after his bumpy start in Atlanta, has picked up where he left off, going 5.1 innings, allowing just 2 runs. The Marlins looked like a team fighting for a playoff spot last night, and hopefully, this can be continued.

 

Why is the most important series of the year?

 

The Marlins came into this series clinging onto 2nd place in the division. The Nationals are last in the NL East and the easiest competition that the Marlins will see the rest of the way. To finish off the season, the Marlins play 4 versus the Braves in Atlanta and 3 versus the Yankees in New York. Those are 7 tough games that would be made a lot easier if the Marlins sweep the doubleheader today and win this series 4-1. The goal is to give as much comfort room as possible, and these two games are the Marlins’ last chance to do so. The marlins should have Sixto going in 2 of the remaining games, which is promising.

 

Looking at today’s’ games

 

In game 1 at 1:10 pm, Sandy Alcantara takes the mound versus Max Scherzer. This will be a fun game, one that proves whether or not the Marlins can clutch up versus big-time pitching. Scherzer has not had his normal type of year (4-3, 4.04 ERA), but this is most likely due to the small sample size. The Nationals will start Ben Braymer in game 2, whereas the Marlins have not yet announced their starter.