Just another attempt to piece together the remaining games and see how likely we are to get to the playoffs.
The Marlins are currently at 72-65.
A whopping 18 out of our last 25 games are against the NL East though that is not exactly unusual. Let's start with the current task at hand.
New York Mets: 6 games total. @NYM, 3 games, 9/8 - 9/10; @FLA, 3 games, 9/25 - 9/27
Season Series (2008)- Mets won 10-8 Season Series (2009)- Marlins lead 7-5
The Amazin's are a shadow of their former selves, reduced by injury and bad luck to the mess that you see before you. Surely, without Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and the like, they should be easy sweeps for the Marlins, right?
So one would think. And, one would probably be wrong. The Mets would love nothing better than to reverse the Karma from the past two years (I don't need to remind you, do I?). And, slowly but surely, their players are coming off the DL. Carlos Beltran is scheduled to come back this series, and good ol' John Maine, who loves sticking it to the Marlins, is not far behind.
You can count on the Mets to do their best to give us all the trouble they can during these two series. On the other hand, I think the Marlins should be up to the task. At least, they should be able to do enough to win the season series against the Mets for the first time since 2004 (a year the Mets went 71-91). Prediction: Marlins go 3-3.
Washington Nationals: 3 games total. @FLA, 9/11 - 9/13
Season Series (2008)- Marlins won 14-3 Season Series (2009)- Marlins lead 11-4
Much has been said about the Marlins dominance over the Nationals. However, you probably haven't gone deep enough to see the splits of that dominance. Since 2006 (the time that the current crop of Marlins came together), the Marlins are a decent 19-16 in Washington, but an astounding 25-8 at home against the Nationals. I don't think that trend is likely to suddenly reverse itself but don't think that the Nationals will just roll over either (Sunday, if anything, told us that). They are out to preserve their dignity and finish below 100 losses. On the other hand, I don't think the Marlins will settle for anything less than a sweep right now. Why don't we make them get those wins against other teams (preferably the Phillies)? Prediction: Marlins go 3-0.
St. Louis Cardinals: 3 games total. @STL, 9/14 - 9/16
Season Series (2008)- Cardinals won 5-2 Season Series (2009)- Cardinals lead 2-1
If there has been anything consistent over the years with these Marlins, it's how much trouble the teams in the NL Central have caused them. These teams have been haunting the Marlins for quite some time, ESPECIALLY when we're on the road (Hint! Hint! The Marlins are a measly 2-11 on the road against the NL Central this year!! How is that even possible!?) And, no team in the entire league has given the Marlins more fits than these Cardinals. I don't even remember the last time we won a series against them.
And yet, despite all that, I'm actually feeling good about this particular series. We came so close in June to winning, but we tripped at the finish line. This time, the Fish will be coming prepared, and (assuming Freddi doesn't mess with the schedule) we have both JJ and Ricky slated for this series. In addition, the Redbirds have the NL Central all but locked up, and will not likely be putting in the maximum effort. Let's catch them napping. I'm not nearly concerned about this series as I am about.... Prediction: Marlins go 2-1.
Cincinnati Reds: 4 games total, @CIN, 9/17 - 9/20
Season Series (2008)- Reds won 6-2 Season Series (2009)- Series Tied 1-1
The one in the Great American Ballpark. Don't believe it's nice and patriotic sounding name, it's actually a euphemism for "Marlin Slaughterhouse of Doom." We have not won a game here since 2006. Last year, we were swept in four games (including one that was rained out and replayed in September, when we were on a roll). Don't think for a moment that this will be easy. This is not the same Reds team that was in freefall over the summer. They have put it together recently, including an impressive three game sweep in Atlanta. The short series that we had in May does not exactly inspire confidence, either. We barely squeaked out a win in the Josh Johnson start and were essentially creamed in the other one.
I can only hope that the Marlins realize that the Reds will be bringing it, like they always do against us, and come prepared with their whipping sticks. It may sound like I'm overplaying this ballclub, but this is not one team to take lightly. Prediction: Marlins go 2-2.
Philadelphia Phillies: 6 games total, @FLA, 3 games, 9/22 - 9/23; @PHI, 3 games, 10/2 - 10/4
Season Series (2008)- Marlins won 10-8 Season Series (2009)- Phillies lead 7-5
The series against the Phillies this year has taken a very weird twist, of which I'm sure you're aware of. The Phillies are 6-0 in Miami. The Marlins are 5-1 in Philly. Anyway, the Phillies have not been doing so well as of late. Their offense has all but disappeared, and Cliff Lee is proving to be very human after all. I don't think their offensive woes will last until we see them again in that doubleheader, but it is something to keep in mind. The Phillies might end up being the better target, rather than the Rockies or Giants, depending on how streaky they want to be before the end of the year.
Anyway, these series will surely be interesting, as they always are with the Phillies. We get to end the year in Philadelphia (I bet somebody from the Mets had something to do with that decision), and if we're in striking distance by then, let's hope that the year's strange trend continues. And, let's hope Wes Helms is having a good day. Prediction: Marlins go 4-2.
Atlanta Braves: 3 games total: @ATL, 9/28 - 9/30
Season Series (2008)- Braves won 10-8 Season Series (2009)- Marlins lead 8-7
Finally, though, before we go to Philadelphia, we still have three more games with the Braves. Frankly, I don't know how this one will turn out. The Braves seem to be sulking in despair since we split that series with them which will be bad news for us since they'll want to take it out on us in this series. Games against the Braves are always very close and can go either way. If the Marlins really want to go to the Postseason, they're going to have to win this series by hook or by crook. It'll be a battle, though. This may be the toughest series left, but you could arguably say that about any of the series at this point. Prediction: Marlins go 2-1.
So, where does that leave us? At a solid 88-74. This may or may not be enough. We may be able to get one more game from the Mets and/or the Reds, which would bring us to 89-73 or 90-72. However, I don't think the Rockies will be looking to go 10-14 the rest of the way. They are dialed in, and have the Playoffs in sight. That's why I think the Phillies might end up being the better target after all, even though we're currently six games back. If we go 4-2 against them, then that's two games closer. This will be a test of how much our fellow NL East countrymen want to play spoiler, and how much the Phillies offense wants to continue to sputter. They also play four more games with the Astros (who apparently have the best record in the National League against the Phillies in recent years).
All in all, the Marlins' chances are slim. We may very well end up losing out only by one or two games. However, I am proud of the way the Marlins have played this year, certainly much better than many were anticipating, especially after that horrible month of May. Let's just have a strong finish and see what happens.