The Marlins were supposed to deliver a knock-out punch to the Phillies this weekend, but they didn't do it. If not for a miracle of a comeback on Satruday night, the Fish would have been swept.
The Marlins poor performance this weekend, coupled with two losses by the Astros (against the Brewers of all teams), has placed the Phillies right back in the middle of the playoff hunt.
And while the Nationals and Mets go into next week all but officially eliminated from post-season contention, the Braves enter the week having done everything except mathematically clinch the division title.
I'd been looking forward to this series against the Astros for a long time (well more than a month). But as this series gets set to start tomorrow night, I'm anything but optimistic.
After Dontrelle Willis, the Marlins haven't had anything that's looked like a consistent starter for the past few weeks. There are some nice new arms being showcased (Vargas and Johnson), but they throw about as many balls as they do strikes. Young veterans A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett are supposed to be leaders on this team, but they have only led the charge into inconsistency.
The bullpen hasn't given much more hope - other than Todd Jones. Jones continues to be simply spectacular.
There are also plenty of offensive questions. Mike Lowell has been relegated to pinch-hit duty. Jeremy Hermida isn't seeing enough action to make a meaningful contribution. Paul LoDuca should probably be spending more time in a hospital right now than in a Marlins uniform.
Still, there's hope. There's definitely hope. The Marlins are only a half-game back of the Wild Card leading Astros. And now the Fish have four games against those Astros. There are nineteen games and six series left in the regular season. The Marlins control their own destiny. If they win enough games (particularly against the likes of the Astros and the Phillies), they'll find themselves in the playoffs. It all starts tomorrow.
That's my attempt at a Marlins rant/venting session. Feel free to add your own in a diary or in the comments. Yes, there's reason for hope, but I'm not sure why I should believe that anything is going to happen.