The Miami Marlins Will Play a Big Role in the Playoff Picture
Playoff races are picking up across baseball. In the NL East, NL Central, NL West and AL West lie tight three-horse races for the respective division crowns which will leave a few talented teams without a playoff berth.
While the Miami Marlins are not in their respective playoff race, they will have an input on who makes the playoffs and who will start their offseason early.
Beginning this Tuesday in Miami against the Yankees, the Marlins will play 19 of their final 36 games against a team in a heated playoff battle. With that being said, this young Marlins team can provide some much-needed wins for a playoff hopeful or could very well play spoiler.
Now, let’s take a look at each one of these crucial matchups down the stretch for the Fish.
Giancarlo and the Yankees Come to Town (Aug. 21st-22nd)
While the Yankees enter the series with a 77-46 record, they sit ten games back from the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
The Yankees’ lineup and bullpen have been strong all year, but their biggest question marks lie within their starting rotation.
After starting out the year hot, the Yankees’ ace, Luis Severino struggled in his past seven outings where he worked to a 1-4 record with 7.50 ERA. This Saturday however, Severino looked better as he took the mound against the Blue Jays where he gave the Yanks five innings of two run ball.
In the Marlins series, Severino will not have the chance to take the mound. But, former NL MVP, Giancarlo Stanton is expecting to play right field against his former team. On the season, Stanton is hitting .283/.349/.538 with 31 homeruns.
This series is especially important for the Yankees especially if they are looking to keep their shot at the division alive.
Falling to 12 back of the Red Sox this late in the season will be detrimental to any shot at the division crown.
The Miami Marlins and The Braves (Aug. 23rd-26th)
Sitting at 68-53, the youthful Braves come to town for one final match up on the season for the two teams. The Braves currently sit in first place in the NL East and this four-game series has major implications on the race.
After last week’s Jose Urena incident, this series will also have some extra added intrigue. While Don Mattingly has already publicly stated that there is no way that Urena will pitch in the series even if available, his arch-nemesis, Ronald Acuna will be in the lineup for the Braves.
The Miami Marlins Travel to Beantown (Aug. 28th-29th)
The Marlins will pay a visit to historic Fenway Park with a match up with a team that has a chance to be one of the best in history.
So far, the Red Sox have compiled a ridiculous 87-36 record led by the bats of local South Florida product J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts. The pair can very well finish one and two in the AL MVP vote. Below are the season numbers for the two:
Martinez: .333/.403/.661 37 HR 105 RBI
Betts: .350/.437/.665 27 HR 64 RBI
Marlins fans, if you do not get a chance to watch a ton of AL baseball, here is your chance to watch one of the most entertaining teams in recent memory.
A Couple Dates With the Phills (Sept. 3rd-5th, 14th-16th)
The Phillies to some people’s surprise seemingly arrived on the scene a year early. After adding Jake Arrieta late in the offseason, this Phillies team looks like a major force to be reckoned with.
The six games the Phillies have left against the Fish are huge in their playoff push. If this team does happen to grab one of the coveted five playoff spots, they can be a nightmare in the postseason.
Their pitching staff led by the aforementioned Jake Arrieta currently looks as good as any heading into a seven game playoff series.
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Can the Nats Stay Afloat? (Sept. 17th-18th, 24th-26th)
In what is Bryce Harper’s final year before free agency, almost nothing has gone to plan in D.C. The injury bug bit early and often taking down some of the Nationals premiere talent that they were relying on heading into the season.
Injuries to Daniel Murphy, Adam Eaton, Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick, Stephen Strasburg and Kelvin Herrera have hampered the Nationals production as has the absent bat of Bryce Harper in the first half.
Coming into the year as heavy division favorites, at 62-61 and seven games back the Nats are struggling to stay afloat. If there is any chance of a Nationals playoff berth, these six games against the Marlins will be huge.
There is Still Intrigue
While the Marlins are out of the race and will be focusing on the growth of their young core, as a baseball fan there is still reason to turn the Marlins on nightly. At the end of this final 36 game stretch for the Fish, the Marlins will have a lot to say about the final ten teams in the playoffs.
While they will not be there themselves, they definitely have the chance to send a team packing right with them.
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