Miami Marlins fall to Nationals but get help from Rockies

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 28: Jose Urena /

The Miami Marlins failed to put together a winning effort in their first game against the Nationals. They’re lucky to have kept pace in the wildcard.

If the Miami Marlins are going to track down the Colorado Rockies, it’s going to take a lot of winning. Back 4.5-games, the margin for error is razor-thin. That’s why dropping the opening game of the series had the potential to be disastrous.

But it wasn’t! The Miami Marlins continue to dodge bullets. Playing the lowly Detroit Tigers, the Rockies failed to rally from a one run deficit, losing 4-3. While the Marlins didn’t gain any ground in the playoff hunt, they didn’t lose any either.

They’re a team counting their blessings on Tuesday morning.

Max Scherzer was phenomenal in his return from the disabled list. Through seven innings, he allowed five hits and only one earned run. From early on it appeared he’d brought his best stuff, and Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton went down on strikes twice.

The Marlins will see no rest on Wednesday night with Stephen Strasburg taking the ball for the Nationals in game three. It’s a series Miami can ill-afford to lose.

Had to lose eventually

With all of the winning the Miami Marlins were doing, you knew the gravy train had to make a stop at some point. The Fish were largely beating up on teams with losing records. Don’t scoff at this though, it’s what winning teams do.

Better to beat up on lesser teams than have them beat up on you.

But the Washington Nationals present a different kind of challenge. They’re headed to the playoffs; division winners no less. Nobody was expecting the Marlins to sweep Washington in Washington, but a series victory would go a long way.

At the very least, the Marlins have to avoid being swept; the Rockies aren’t going to be swept by the Tigers.

Through the rest of the season, the Nationals are going to present Miami with their biggest challenge. They have five more games remaining on their schedule against the incumbent NL East champs, a 3-2 split would do them wonders.

Other than that, the only teams Miami draws with winning records are ones that they are chasing in the wildcard.

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Even with a loss to the Nationals last night, the Miami Marlins were fortunate enough to maintain the distance in the wildcard. Thanks to the Detroit Tigers, the Fish remain 4.5 games back. Expect a lot of scoreboard watching through the rest of this series.

Survive and advance: it applies to baseball too.