Sep 20, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) connects for a base hit during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins may be limping to the finish line, injuries and all, but this season has to be looked at as a success by many accounts. On a team with very few “superstars”, the Marlins have acquitted themselves well this season. They currently reside in 4th place in the N.L. East, which is a spot that many people saw them finishing, but certainly not with less than 90 losses, which is guaranteed to be the case.
Miami will host the Philadelphia Phillies in the last series at Marlins Park for a 3-game set. Miami is 7-9 so far this season against the cellar-dwelling Phils, a large reason that they were not able to make more of a playoff push down the stretch. Miami had a bad habit of playing down to their competition, struggling against teams with a sub-.500 record.
All that is water under the bridge at this point. We are hopeful for a successful series, but I would be content in some of the little things. Maybe watching Andrew Heaney get a start at the end of the season would be nice. I would like to see Christian Yelich lay down another perfect drag bunt at the second baseman for a hit. It would be nice to see another frisbee slider from Steve Cishek‘s hip pocket. Heck why not watch Garrett Jones bungle another ball at first base for old-times-sake.
I am feeling a little nostalgic as we move into the end of 2014. I am excited about what the future holds, but that is another article. For now, lets just give a quick preview of the Marlins and Phillies.
The pitching duel of the series will take place in game one on Tuesday night. Both pitchers come into the game with ERA’s below 3 and winning records, not easy considering these lineups. The Marlins have proved particularly susceptible to good left-handed pitching and Hamels certainly fits that bill. Hamels has given up 7 earned runs in 19 innings this year, numbers that Miami will need to build upon. Alvarez, on the other hand, has been lights out against Philadelphia allowing only 4 earned runs in 27 innings this year. Look for the Fish to take game 1.
I am dreaming of Hand getting caught in a wicked traffic jam and being unable to make it to Marlins Park on time and Andrew Heaney taking the hill, but that is probably unlikely as Hand seems like a pretty punctual person. If you like offense, this game is for you. Look for a total of 10 runs to be scored before the 7th inning, as the winner will surely be the one who can keep out of fewer big innings. Kendrick has allowed 3 earned runs in 13 innings against the Fish, while Hand has allowed 6 earned runs in 12 innings. Look for Philly to even the series tonight.
The finale will pit the battle of the obscure. Neither player is known outside of their own fan base, yet both have pitched rather nicely this season. Buchanan has given up 3 earned runs in 11 innings against Miami and Koehler has surrendered just 4 runs in 18 innings against Philadelphia. Both pitchers have ERA’s right around 3.75 certainly acceptable for their given roles. While I believe this will be a good game, I see Koehler pitching a gem in his final outing of 2014.