Miami Marlins Open Up New Season Against Familiar Foes

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The Miami Marlins open up, again, against the Washington Expos. Sorry, meant the Montreal Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Marlins open up, again, against the Washington Expos. Sorry, meant the Montreal Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Well Marlin Maniacs, here we go again. Welcome to Opening Day and a new season, the twenty-fifth in Miami Marlins franchise history.

For the Miami Marlins, as with all other clubs, the magic of Spring Training carries over to the slate of games that count, as all thirty clubs can dream that this is The Year.

Of course, for most, that’s only so much baseball poetry, with the reality of today’s tank or trophy mentality being that only a handful have a realistic chance of winning that last game of the season. The Miami Marlins themselves?

They find themselves in a bit of a gray area. The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote wrote an excellent piece this weekend, on April Fool’s Day no less, chronicling the off-the-field storylines that circle the club: the loss of Jose, the potential sale of the team, the buzz of the All-Star game. All interlink, all have potential to spill out onto the field.

The first game against every opponent this season will include some somber reminder on who isn’t present, and nothing short of a championship could have a greater positive impact on fanbase and franchise than Jeffrey Loria’s departure.

The first game against every opponent this season will include some somber reminder on who isn’t present, and nothing short of a championship could have a greater positive impact on fanbase and franchise than Jeffrey Loria’s departure.

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If that’s where you want your focus to be, on franchise past and franchise-yet-to-come events, read the Cote piece. Much has been written on those topics already and will continue to be written.

2017 is a new season, though, and this first Marlin Maniac article of it looks to on-the-field challenges that await the 2017 Miami Marlins. And there’s no better place to start than the first opponent: the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals are extremely familiar Opening Day territory, and not just because they share a division. Out of twenty-five openers, the Marlins have kicked things off against the Washington Expos six times, more than any other team.

The good news? The Fish are 4-2 in Expos/Nats openers. The bad? That second loss came yesterday, in truly demoralizing fashion. The Marlins are now 11-14 overall in Game 1 of 162 and are currently on a three-game Opening Day slide.

This will also be yet another April that starts extremely NL East heavy, with twelve consecutive games being played within the division, and fifteen overall. After going 32-43 in the East a year ago, the division record easily played the largest factor in the Marlins not finishing above .500 in 2016.

That 32-43 mark must improve this time around, particularly against the lesser ranked Braves and Phillies- the Marlins had a losing record against every East team last year, not just the Mets and the Nats.

Next: Will Defense Be Impacted By Rule Change?

Just a few short weeks into sport’s longest season, Miami Marlins fans could have a good sense as to how things will play out by season’s close. Will that thirteen seasons long postseason drought, or that seven season long losing drought finally come to an end?

It all comes down to the East, starting with the Nationals.

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