The Miami Marlins have played well of late, winning six of their seven games on their road trip. The strong showing in Atlanta and Houston put the Marlins at 50-53, 7.5 games behind the division leading Washington Nationals for first in the NL East race.
Luckily for the Fish, their next series is at home against those division leading Nationals. The Marlins front office and their players will likely use the series as a barometer for where the team sits with the deadline looming. The players, especially Giancarlo Stanton, are well aware of the ramifications of what this series could have on their season.
“I know how important it’s going to be,” Stanton said. “We know where we’re at. They’re [the Nationals] in the driver’s seat, so we’ve got to kick them out.”
The Marlins recent success has the front office thinking about buying, but what the team does against the division leaders could determine whether they buy or sell.
If the team is swept or loses the series, they could go the other route and decide to sell. If they do decide to sell, reliever Mike Dunn and closer Steve Cishek could be put on the market. Third baseman Casey McGehee and first baseman Garrett Jones could also be for sell, but that is less likely.
However, if the Marlins could pull off the improbable and sweep the series, they would have closed the gap on the Nationals to under 5 games. Taking two of three would also narrow the gap, but just by 1 game to 6.5 games back.
Either way, the importance of this series is not lost upon the Marlins franchise. In a weakened NL, the Marlins still believe they have a shot to make the playoffs.
The odds at this point still don’t look too great, but they have to prove they will at least try to appease their star right fielder.