Unleashing the Thrilling Momentum: Miami Marlins Surge Towards Playoffs

1 of 5 | Right fielder Jesus Sanchez and the Miami Marlins are within reach of the National League’s final wild card playoff slot. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Sept. 19 (UPI) — The Miami Marlins are embracing the excitement of a playoff push, fueled by a sensational weekend sweep of the top-ranked Atlanta Braves and bolstered by the impending return of their star pitcher. The team is riding the surge of adrenaline as they take it day by day towards securing a spot in the postseason.

“We know what talent we have in this clubhouse,” said Marlins third baseman Jake Burger. “We’re in the wild card race, and everybody’s legs are tired.”

The Marlins (78-73) are currently in contention for the National League’s third and final wild card slot, placing them in the sixth seed for the postseason bracket. However, a narrow 2-1 loss to the New York Mets has dropped them slightly behind the Chicago Cubs (78-72) and Cincinnati Reds (79-73) in the battle for the slot. The race has intensified with the Arizona Diamondbacks (79-72) and San Francisco Giants (76-74) also in contention alongside the Marlins.

While competing for the playoff spot, many Marlins players are constantly checking scores and keeping an eye on their rivals’ performances across the country.

“Walking into the clubhouse feels like entering a force field,” Burger said. “There’s a palpable sense of adrenaline. I check scores and receive texts from friends and family after every game. It’s a lot of fun being in the hunt with 11 games to go.”

A playoffs appearance would be momentous for the Marlins, marking their first extended run since 2003, outside of the shortened 2020 season. It would also be the franchise’s third postseason trip in a 162-game season, having previously won the World Series in both instances.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said first baseman Josh Bell. “We’re playing for the postseason and aiming to go deep. The motivation makes it easier to show up early for workouts and put in extra effort because we’re playing for something.”

The Marlins had a strong start to the season, being 14 games over .500 at one point. However, a rough stretch from mid-July to the end of August dropped their record to 66-67. They made a significant turnaround with a 12-6 record, including an impressive series sweep against the Braves where they outscored the division leaders 36-13. Over their last 18 games, the Marlins are tied with the New York Yankees for the most wins in baseball.

Key additions to the team, such as Luis Arraez, Yuli Gurriel, Jake Burger, and Josh Bell, have brought a new level of talent and depth. Arraez leads MLB with a .354 batting average, while Gurriel’s extensive postseason experience is invaluable to the team. Burger and Bell have made significant contributions since joining the Marlins mid-season, with Burger hitting .306 and Bell hitting nine home runs in his first 42 games.

Jorge Soler, a two-time World Series champion, also provides a boost to the Marlins’ offense with 36 home runs this season. Additionally, free agent acquisition Garrett Hampson adds versatility to the team and is hitting a career-high .289.

As a team, the Marlins have a strong .259 batting average, ranking third in the National League. They excel in late-inning situations with an MLB-best .269 average from the seventh inning onwards. On the pitching front, the Marlins’ 4.19 ERA sits in the middle of the pack, with rookie starter Eury Perez leading the rotation with a 3.06 ERA.

The Marlins remain optimistic as they await the potential return of their star pitcher Sandy Alcantara, who is recovering from an elbow sprain. Alcantara expressed his eagerness to rejoin his teammates and make a significant impact on the season.

The Marlins will continue their quest for the playoffs as they face the New York Mets in the second game of a three-game series. They have a challenging schedule ahead with games against the Milwaukee Brewers, Mets, and Pittsburgh Pirates.


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