Given the moves the Atlanta Braves made leading up to this season, one could safely surmise that they didn't think they'd be in a position to contend at this late stage in the game, and sure enough, that is the reality. Off-loading the likes of Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis, to name a few, the Bravos began the process of rebuilding in hopes of having an interesting team, if not a play-off caliber one, by the time their new stadium opens it's doors in 2017.
Whether they've accomplished that or not remains to be seen, but at 62-92 this year, they are who we thought they were. Not so with the Marlins, who through a witch's brew of serious injuries, underperformance and bad luck, find themselves only five games better than the rebuilding Braves. Sometimes we've been treated to an offensive outburst such as what occurred yesterday, the Fish running up 12 runs on 20 hits, but more common has been the lulls. In the same vein, we have seen some dominant outings this year by Marlins starting pitchers, but we've also seen far too many short outings punctuated by bad innings, the relievers unable to stop the bleeding and the hitters lacking the firepower to respond.
Will it be better in 2016?
Yes. Yes it will.
For as much as anyone may bemoan the lack of depth or general underperformance of key players, the one thing that is guaranteed to get better is the health of the overall squad. The Texas Rangers were the most injured team in the majors by far last year; this year, with much the same roster (and Cole Hamels), they're making a play-off run. Envision a full season of Fernández, Stanton and a pitching staff that isn't decimated. Perhaps you don't get a play-off squad, but we should find ourselves closer to what we thought the Marlins would be this season.
|ATLANTA BRAVES||MIAMI MARLINS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Dee Gordon - 2B|
|Daniel Castro - 2B||Christian Yelich - CF|
|Freddie Freeman - 1B||Martin Prado - 3B|
|Adonis Garcia - 3B||Justin Bour - 1B|
|Nick Swisher - LF||Marcell Ozuna - RF|
|Andrelton Simmons - SS||Derek Dietrich - LF|
|Cameron Maybin - CF||J.T. Realmuto - C|
|Ryan Lavarnway - C||Miguel Rojas - SS|
|Julio Teheran - RHP||Justin Nicolino - LHP|
- Carter Capps threw a simulated game on Thursday but still felt discomfort after the session, so the Marlins have shut him down for the season. He will be ready to go, theoretically, in spring training. Giancarlo Stanton, who had hoped to return before the end of the season as well, appears more likely to be shut down at this point, as well.
Bold Prediction: Marlins beat Braves 4-3.