Time Running Out For Marlins Playoff Chances
By Chris Logel
The Marlins kick off another series against the Atlanta Braves just a week after dropping 2 of 3 in Atlanta. Miami is treading water in the playoff race, which is not good when you are 5 games out of a postseason berth. Fortunately for Miami, the 3 teams in front of them all have a tie to the Fish during the last few weeks of the season.
Miami currently trails Atlanta by 5 games, but with the upcoming 3 games series, that deficit could be cut considerably. The Milwaukee Brewers also lead the Fish by 5 games, but the Marlins welcome the Brew Crew to Marlins Park immediately following the Braves series for 4 very important games.
The final team in front of Miami is the Pittsburgh Pirates who are 3.5 games closer to the playoffs. The Pirates still have 7 games remaining against the Braves and the Brewers, so one thing is for sure, now would be a great time for the Marlins to go on a winning streak.
Even if Miami is unable to capitalize on their surprising season, hopefully the young players can use this opportunity to gain experience and understand what it is like to play meaningful games in September. That knowledge could serve them well in the future.
First things first though, Miami has to at least win 2 of 3 from Atlanta. They really need a sweep but if they can’t top Atlanta in this series, you can pack up your playoff dreams for another season. Fortunately for the Fish, they are sending their hottest pitcher to the mound on Friday evening.
Jarred Cosart will take the hill and face Aaron Harang. Cosart’s last start for the Marlins was his best yet, as he blanked the Braves across 7 innings. He will look to duplicate that performance, but really Miami needs to capitalize on Aaron Harang who has surrendered 7 runs in 3 starts against the Fish this year.
On Saturday, things get a little more dicey with the Marlins starting the suddenly struggling Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has taken the loss in his last 4 appearances, including last week against the Braves, even though he pitched pretty well. His inconsistency has been highlighted by hard hit balls and a very unfriendly BABIP. The Marlins will have to string together some hits to help Nathan out, which is a tall order against Alex Wood. Wood got the better of Eovaldi last time, out going 8 strong innings of shutout ball allowing only 5 hits.
One half of the Sunday matinée will be Julio Teheran for the Braves. Teheran has nasty stuff, and given the Marlins propensity to strikeout, is likely to have a good night. The Fish have not named a starter for that game with the recent oblique injury to Henderson Alvarez. If Alvarez is unable to go, look for a possible start from Marlins top prospect Andrew Heaney in his place. Either way, this promises to be a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon.
I see the Marlins taking 2 of 3 here. What about you? Let us know your predictions or how you think the playoff chase is going to work out in the comments below!