Miami Marlins might be in the playoffs this season. ( I need to pinch myself every time I write that down, auch!) That is the reality at the moment. MLB decided to expand the playoffs this season because the lack of games during the regular season but Marlins has a legit chance to get in even with the “old rules”. I’m still a bit conflicted about all of this; is this a good or bad thing for the league to have this many teams in the postseason but we will see. For a Marlins fan it’s been a long time coming (last time was 2003) since the last playoff berth so the joy of having a team that is competing for a place in the spotlight in September is heaven and right now I don´t give damn how they get in as longs as they do! This is a small breakdown how on earth we are here.
Starting rotation has been the best I have ever seen from the Marlins. This is how they could line up in a three game series: Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Sixto Sanchez. (Auch, I pinched again to see if I was dreaming or typing). Alcantara (3.45 ERA) was out due to the COVID-19 and had to clean up some rust when he came back, Pablo (4.02 ERA) had sort of a slump and pitched in that game we-don’t-speak-out-loud but overall those two guys have been the setting the tone for this young pitching group.
Then there is Sixto. Oh my Lord, he has been lights out ever since he got called up. He has pitched 32 innings, 29 strikeouts. The man has a 1.69 ERA and has only issued 5 walks. He throws 100-mph fastball like it’s drinking water from a baby sippy cup. (Auch!) I’ve only missed one game from him and of course that was a complete 7-inning double header game against his former team Phillies. (I want to hug the GM of Phillies for letting him go). I never thought that #NocheDeSixto would be this special and I hope that someday I can say that I saw his first pitch in the Majors when he (hopefully) becomes something truly special in Miami for a long period of time. He is a must watch even if you are not a Marlins fan.
“This kid is a mini me with better stuff.” – @45PedroMartinez on Sixto Sánchez 👀
— MLB (@MLB) September 15, 2020
O Captain my Captain! Leader of this team, truly a heart and soul of Miami Marlins, Miguel Rojas has been everything I did not expect from him. Did I expect .450 OBP or 1.031 OPS from a guy I thought was just a rotational player. He is playing every day and is batting .360 AVG. I tip my hat to the captain and I apologize for doubting him. This young team could not have a better leader.
I wrote about Lewis Brinson in the spring and I admit it was written slightly with a tongue in the cheek but lo’ and behold, the man has made some adjustments to his game. Don Mattingly uses him mainly against left-handed pitchers and his splits speaks for himself:
He has a slashline againts RHP: .162/.205/.270
Against LHP: .316/.366/.579
Sweet Lew is back! (Auch!) He can do it in the Show!
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 13, 2020
All the young prospect that Marlins have brought up during this season, honorable mention has to go out to the Bahamian prince shortstop Jazz Chisholm. He has impressed the most with his at bats even though numbers don’t show that and his defence has been outstanding. He gets to play beside the captain so I could not think of a better place to him grow as player on and off the field. He just might be here to stay. Keep calm and let Jazz rake!
Jazz Chisholm has his first MLB homer! pic.twitter.com/tws56xIxxZ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 10, 2020
There has been so many new faces during this short season that it feels almost weird to have a day without any transaction news and new faces in the lineup. Marlins made a great deal at the trade deadline when they got centre fielder Starling Marte from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Adding that level of veteran bat to the roster just shows that they are not fooling with the slogan #WhyNotUs. When all the starlings are aligned (thank you, I´m here all night) you have a line up with bats that can go yard and big time. They have speed and hustle. They have swag and confidence. They got called out as a bottom feeders. Well, here we are in the brink of Miami Marlins playoff baseball! (ouch!) Every remaining game for the next few weeks is a game 7 in the World Series for the Marlins. This is why you love the game!
Stay safe and go Fish!
Tomi Korkeamaki is covering the Miami Marlins during 2020 as part of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @TKorkeamaki