Sometimes, when I'm not paying attention to the Miami Marlins, I like to pay attention to my AL team, the Seattle Mariners. They're not a particularly good ballclub, but it's an old habit so I stick to it doggedly. The Mariners have rewarded my 22 years of faithfulness with no World Series appearances and 4 playoff runs (none in the last 14 seasons). Much like the Marlins, they have fallen flat on their face in a year many expected them to be contenders.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I tell you that some of the most fun and memorable baseball viewing experiences I've had have come on the losing side of the ledger. In particular, I can recall the rollercoaster of emotion amongst the fanbase when the Mariners embarked on what would eventually become a 17 game losing streak in 2011. At first, there was anger and dismay as they steadily played themselves out of contention. By loss seven, depression had set in. By the time loss number eleven rolled around, it was hilarious. We began rooting for them to beat the modern day losing streak (23, held by the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies). In the end, they only made it to 17, but watching them find new ways to be inept became fun, it and of itself. Why?
Because if you're going to be bad, you might as well be the worst.
That brings me back around to the Marlins, who have a chance today (with a Phillies win) to take control of the worst record in baseball (and thus, securing the #1 pick in the 2016 draft). With contention long out of the picture, Michael gave us reasons to keep watching way back in June. Well, one of the reasons I will be watching is to see if the Fish can secure that precious #1 pick. It will be tough sledding against the Phillies, who are legitimately bad with a -125 run differential and have had to go on a hell of a run just to get to where they are at (42-65), but I think the Marlins have a crack at it. We are out of the race to the top, but the race to the bottom is in full swing.
The man Mets fans affectionately call the Dark Knight aka Matt Harvey hasn't won on the road in two months (June 4th at Arizona), but that is as much due to an ill-timed cold spell by the offense as it is his own pitching. With the Marlins in their most recent 2-8 spiral this may be his best chance to date to snag that illusive win.
David Phelps doesn't have a cool nickname but he has been a consistent if unspectacular starter in a turbulent Miami rotation, giving up three runs or less in each of his last four starts.
|NEW YORK METS||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Curtis Granderson - RF||Dee Gordon - 2B|
|Daniel Murphy - 2B||Derek Dietrich - LF|
|Yoenis Cespedes - CF||Christian Yelich - CF|
|Lucas Duda - 1B||Justin Bour - 1B|
|Juan Uribe - 3B||Martin Prado - 3B|
|Michael Conforto - LF||Ichiro Suzuki - RF|
|Kevin Plawecki - C||Adeiny Hechavarria - SS|
|Ruben Tejada - SS||Jeff Mathis - C|
|Matt Harvey - RHP||David Phelps - RHP|
Justin Bour back in at 1st, Ichiro back in at RF, Derek Dietrich batting 2nd in LF, Martin Prado 6th at 3rd, Jeff Mathis will spell JT Realmuto at catcher and bat 8th, bumping up Adeiny Hechavarria a spot.
Bold Prediction: Mets beat Marlins 5-3.