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Marlins the Spoilers

The Marlins final 10 games of the season are against teams in very close playoff races.  In many ways the Marlins will help determine who wins the NL East and the NL Wild Card.

And the situation makes for some very strange bedfellows.

The Marlins and the Philadelphia Phillies do not like each other.

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Now comes the irony. For the next week, the Phillies and their fans will be the biggest Marlins supporters. Bigger than the hundreds of people who have been flocking to Dolphin Stadium lately.

"They hate us more than any team in baseball," outfielder Cody Ross said. "Right now, we're their favorite team."

I don't know if the Phillies hate us more than any team in baseball, but if the Marlins aren't at the head of the list, they are right near the top.

It appears the guys are up for the challenge.

"We don't have nothing to play for except ruining their seasons. That's what we'll try to do," pitcher Scott Olsen said. "It's motivation knowing they are meaningful games for somebody."

Olsen will oppose the Mets' Pedro Martinez on Friday and be in line to start for the final time next Thursday against the Cubs.

"You look at it as you're going to play some games that are meaningful," closer Kevin Gregg said. "That's something on the line. There will be an October intensity."

Fredi is going to adhere to that integrity of the game thing.

While the Marlins are in last place, manager Fredi Gonzalez is committed to fielding his best lineup each game. In other words, he won't look to give, say, Hanley Ramirez a day off and play Robert Andino at shortstop.

"As far as the way you play the game, you've got to play it like you're in it to either qualify or win your division," Gonzalez said.

Which is a good thing, to a point. (See below)

The role of spoiler is never the one a team hopes to achieve at the end of a season but it sure beats the heck out of playing out the string against the Nationals and Pirates.

At least the guys will get some face time on ESPN for a change.