Fish n’ grits: Miami Marlins morning news

Jun 25, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) and relief pitcher AJ Ramos (44) celebrate defeating the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) and relief pitcher AJ Ramos (44) celebrate defeating the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Marlins managed to split a four-game weekend series with the Chicago Cubs. Now they’ll turn their attention towards the New York Mets.

The defending champion Chicago Cubs managed to take the season series against the Miami Marlins. After taking two-of-three earlier in June, Miami and Chicago split a four-game weekend series at Marlins Park. Worse still, the Marlins ended their hopes of finishing the month at or above the .500 mark.

However, the team continues to play well, making it difficult for management to opt for a rebuild. That hasn’t stopped them from shopping Adeiny Hechavarria around though. Rumors suggest he might be on the move within the next few days. Next up for the Marlins, the New York Mets.

It’s a Monday morning edition of Fish n’ grits! Dig in!

Marlins split series with Cubs

The team entered this series hoping to take three-of-four; they failed in that respect. However ambitious, there is every reason to feel good about the direction Miami is going in. They’re 13-10 this month, with four games remaining in June.

They must win all four of those games.

While splitting the series with the Cubs wasn’t what the team was looking for, it isn’t the series that has hurt them most this month. Chances are they’ll regret dropping the last two games of the series to the Pittsburgh Pirates more. Same for the Atlanta Braves.

Splitting a four-game set with the defending champs, and finishing the series 4-3, isn’t demoralizing. But good teams close out a series when they can, and after having the lead, Miami failed to do that in both those instances.

Hot near the equator

All things considered, the Miami team that plays on a nightly basis is far superior to the one that played in May. After falling as many as 13 games under .500, to be within six games near the end of the following month is remarkable.

The Fish won’t have a chance to come all the way back this month. However, they can pull to within two games. And back-to-back sweeps of the Mets and Brewers will give them a record of 40-40 in early July. With 13 games before the All-Star break, the Fish have the opportunity to set themselves up nicely before the break.

The Brewers are the only team that is over .500 to this point in the season. The Mets, Cardinals, and Giants are all having uncharacteristic years and have struggled.

The Miami Marlins will have to take care of business against beatable competition. With a 10-3 finish heading into the break, the Marlins would have a 44-43 record before beginning the second half.

Hech on the move

It seems as if any sale that involves the Miami Marlins is going to be complicated, and convoluted one. The latest attempted sale is that of Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Multiple teams are believed to be interested, but a deal has failed to materialize so far.

So far, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, and the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be the likeliest destinations. There has been a late entry by the San Diego Padres for his services. The team is seeking pitching prospects in return for Hechavarria.

There appears to be some contention on how much should be surrendered in exchange for his contract. Hechavarria hasn’t exactly lit the Major League world on fire, and none of the teams implicated would consider him a franchise cornerstone.

Miami might end up having to sell low if they want to get his $4.3 million off the books. Multiple reports have suggested that he’ll be moved before the start of the Mets series on Tuesday. If he does, that would officially give the job to rookie infield J.T. Riddle.

New York Mets in town

This will be a battle of two teams who expected more out of the season. Each will be looking to make it the catalyst of bigger things to come. The Mets entertained notions of competing against the Nationals for the division. That looks like a feverish nightmare now.

Still the Marlins will have their hands full. In game one, they’ll send Dan Strialy to the mound. The Mets will counter with Robert Gsellman.

They’ll go Jeff Locke vs. Steven Matz in game two, and Jose Urena vs. Seth Lugo in the finale. All three of these are favorable match ups for the home team. For a Miami Marlins team that has proven it can put up runs in a hurry, they should be licking their chops.

They’ll need to chase Gsellman as quickly as possible. If they can make the Mets bullpen eat six or seven innings in the first game, it sets up nicely for them the rest of the series. They’d need deep starts from Matz and Lugo to compensate.

The Miami Marlins might not be able to finish over the .500 mark this month, but they’re playing better baseball. After splitting a four-game weekend series with the defending champion Chicago Cubs, they’ve proven they belong.

Everyone except Hechavarria, anyway. The team is looking to move him before the start of the series against the Mets on Tuesday. In that series, Miami will look to capitalize on drawing the weaker part of New York’s rotation, and sweep the series.