If you have just woken up from a ten-year coma and look at the Major League Baseball standings, the first thing you would probably think is that it feels good to be alive and second that the Miami Marlins have had a pretty solid season so far – they are currently 0.5 games behind the wild card spot and their win-loss record shows that they are three games over the .500 mark in winning percentage.
For one magical summer day though, they were 14 games over the .500 and looked like they were on their way to clinching the World Series on their 30th anniversary. Since the All-Star break, that beautiful day has changed to a nail-biting nightmare where the Fish is holding the candle in the storm, trying to navigate their way through the dark to the promised land called the postseason.Embed from Getty Images
The Marlins finished the first half of the season with a 53-39 record, which was their best start since 1997, the year they clinched the World Series. Out of those 53 wins, 19 were one-run wins, so roughly around every third game the Fish had their bullpen sweating. They also finished the first half with a negative -5 run differential. Looking at this back now, the outcome of their misery after the All-Star break was written on the wall.
Marlin started with a bang after the break. Losing eight games in a row with three of those by one run, the Fish got a chance to taste their own medicine and shattered every last hope from the Marlins fans. The bullpen was doing its magic in July – in 24 games, they had 11 save opportunities. They brought home a whopping three saves. It was time for GM Kin Ng to do her calls.
Nobody expected that in the last week of the trade deadline, it would be the Marlins making calls to the New York Mets about their reliever, but, in the strange world that we live in and the misery of a half-a-billion payroll circus that the Mets are this season, the call was made from Miami to acquire reliever David Robertson from the Mets.
The Marlins’ offense wasn’t pulling on all cylinders after the break either and because Luis Arraez can’t hit all the time, Marlins made some surprise adds at the trade deadline. Josh Bell and Jake Burger were added to bring some power to the ice-cold offense. Jake Burger is still finding his feet in the clubhouse, but the Marlins already made him a legend when they sold over 2000 burgers on his debut night in Miami. I am still waiting for a cowbell night on behalf of Josh Bell.
Now that they have started the second half with just 6 wins in the first 23 games raises a fair question. How long will the Fish stay in the Wild Card hunt? Their schedule in August is brutal. Unless your last name isn’t Pratt, I don’t have a lot of optimism ahead of these games. Look at the series they are up against:
- Yankees (3 games)
- Houston (3 games)
- @ Dodgers (3 games)
- @ Padres (3 games)
- Rays (2 games)
They have to pull a Miami miracle if they plan to stay alive through this month and scrape some wins together from those series. Their weaknesses have been exposed and, so far, the first-year manager Skip Schumaker hasn’t found the right answer to turn the ship around. When the team played in Cincinnati, the players had a players-only meeting. At least it sounds like they do care about having a chance to get to the postseason.
With the world moving fast forward every second, I also tried to stay in touch with the time and asked Chat GPT to write a short poem about the Marlin’s postseason dreams and hopes. One paragraph hit the ball out of the park:
Through highs and lows, they strive to soar, October's whispers, a distant shore, With every pitch, a chance anew, Marlins' hearts beat strong and true
Beautiful. Just hold the light for a little bit longer, Fish. October shore is just around the corner.
Stay safe and let’s go Fish!
Tomi Korkeamäki is the Miami Marlins writer for Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @tkorkeamaki
Photo credit for lead image: Jasen Vinlove/Getty Images