First things first: Happy José day!
Second, two out of three against the Redbirds in St. Louis? Has Christmas come early? At 49-42, the Fish sit seven games above .500, matching their season high as they head into this four game road series against the struggling Phillies (as predicted back in May). They are firmly entrenched in the National League wild card race and within striking distance of a Washington Nationals team that has not been able to pull away from their top two competitors.
Long time Marlins fans may be tempted to be skeptical, to hyper focus on the visible flaws, but allow me to throw out a brief laundry list of reasons to embrace optimism and simply enjoy this team for what it is and where it's at right now:
Bour will be back soon. Gordon will be back soon. Fernàndez is having the best year of his career. Stanton has definitively turned things around. Ozuna has not slowed down. Ichiro! has not slowed down. The bullpen is consistent. The defense is great. An improvement in the five spot in the rotation is almost certainly on it's way.
Embrace your contender, Miami.
|Team||Starter||ERA||FIP||2016 ZIPS Projected ERA|
Fernàndez accumulated 4.1 fWAR in his phenomenal rookie season in 2013. He is currently up to 3.9 fWAR. In mid-July. In 11 of 17 starts he has held the opposing team to one run or less. He has given up six hits or less in 15 of his 17 starts. His 12.91 K/9 rate is tops in all of baseball. In a crowded NL field, José is unlikely to win the Cy Young award, but he is certainly pitching like a guy destined to win it.
Nola was really solid for about a month and a half, but much like his team he has struggled as of late, going 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA/5.00 FIP over his last five starts. The Phillies skipped his last turn in the rotation just before the All-Star break to help "clear his head" according to manager Pete Mackanin. Nola claims that he feels just fine mechanically so I suppose we'll see if the extended rest had any effect on the present and future Phillies rotation fixture.
|MIAMI MARLINS||PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES|
|J.T. Realmuto - C||Odubel Herrera - CF|
|Martin Prado - 3B||Peter Bourjos - RF|
|Christian Yelich - LF||Maikel Franco - 3B|
|Giancarlo Stanton - RF||Cameron Rupp - C|
|Marcell Ozuna - CF||Tommy Joseph - 1B|
|Derek Dietrich - 2B||Cody Asche - LF|
|Don Kelly - 1B||Freddy Galvis - SS|
|Adeiny Hechavarria - SS||Cesar Hernandez - 2B|
|Jose Fernandez - RHP||Aaron Nola - RHP|
Ozuna back in at center.
- Justin Bour will play a couple of minor league games as a part of his return from the ankle injury that landed him on the DL and thus is likely to miss this series. The Marlins hope to have him back at home in Miami against the Mets on Friday.
- Dee Gordon's first game of his "rehab assignment" (their phrasing) with the New Orleans Zephyrs is today. That was a quick 80 games, don't you think?
- Ichiro's three hit day on Sunday brought him up to 2,994 hits, within six of 3,000 and making it possible that it might happen in Miami this weekend. Get there if you can.
Bold Prediction: Marlins keep the good times rolling, defeat Phillies 3-0.