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Miami Marlins' upcoming schedule calls for teams without key pieces

The Miami Marlins' upcoming schedule includes several teams that are without key contributors. If Miami wants to make a playoff push, capitalizing on such absences will be key.

Rob Foldy

The Miami Marlins are convinced they can make a late season playoff push. And considering their next few opponents, there is no better time to start.

With a 5-4 walkoff victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night, the Marlins sit at just a game under five hundred (60-61) and remain in the hunt for one of two National League wild card spots. Considering their next three opponents have been plagued by injuries to core players, the Marlins are in a position to gain ground.

If ever the Marlins were going to make a move and jump into the playoff picture, now would seem to be the time. Their next nine games are against three of the lousiest four teams in the majors in terms of their won-loss records, and all three are in weakened states due to injuries to their biggest stars.

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Arizona is without first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who had a solid 2013 and was batting .300/.396/.542 in 109 games before he broke his hand and joined eight other Diamondbacks on the disabled list. Goldschmidt went 4 for 10 at Chase Field in a three game series victory over the Marlins, but his absence leaves a significant hole in the heart of the order.

The Diamondbacks have a left-handed heavy lineup, which on paper gives them an advantage against a predominantly right-handed Miami rotation. But without Goldschmidt, scoring runs may be a challenge.

After the four game series with the Diamondbacks concludes, the Texas Rangers head to Marlins Park for a two game interleague matchup. Ace Yu Darvish, who is 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 2.84 FIP this season, was set to pitch the second game of the quick series. That was before he was placed on the `15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Darvish pitched against the Marlins when the club played in Arlington in June, tossing nine scoreless innings while walking three and striking out ten. Instead, Miami will face Robbie Ross, and will have the chance to take both games of the series against a Texas team that has struggled of late.

Once the nine game homestand ends, Miami heads to Coors Field for a three game series with the Colorado Rockies. Already without Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies on Thursday announced Troy Tulowitzki will be done for the season with a hip injury.

Tulowitzki, like Giancarlo Stanton, has been involved in National League MVP talks after posting a .340/.432/.603 line to complement 52 RBIs and a 5.1 WAR.

With Thursday's victory, the Marlins are two victories away from meeting last season's win total. Looking to gain ground in the standings quickly, Miami will need to take advantage of inconsistent and injury-ridden teams moving forward.

The Marlins have proven they can compete with the division rival Braves and Nationals of late, and after taking two of three from the Cardinals, don't have many concerns when facing some of the National League's best teams. It is teams with sub-five hundred records Miami has struggled against, a trend that the team can change within the next week and a half.