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Baseball’s version of a solar eclipse? The Marlins sweeping a doubleheader

So don’t get your hopes up for Tuesday’s games against the Phillies.

The Marlins return to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, the site of the last doubleheader they swept late in the 2015 season.
Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

Monday was not a very productive day across the United States, as folks from coast to coast abandoned their work and other responsibilities to witness a total solar eclipse. It should be more of the same for Miami Marlins fans on Tuesday. This surging team visits the Philadelphia Phillies to attempt their own rare phenomenon: sweeping both ends of a doubleheader.

But please, don’t let anybody talk you into purchasing special “matinee baseball glasses,” or committing more time to watching the games than your schedule reasonably allows. It’s unlikely that the Fish actually pull this off.

Marlins fans will be just excited as Justin Turner was if the team completes a much-needed sweep of the rebuilding Phillies.
Photo by @redturn2/Twitter

According to NASA records, there have been only six solar eclipses—including both total and annular ones—visible from the United States over the past 30 years. During that time frame, we’ve seen exactly as many perfect doubleheaders from this franchise. Here’s the full list:

Doubleheaders Swept by the Marlins

Date Opponent Ballpark Game 1 Score (Winning Pitcher) Game 2 Score (Winning Pitcher)
Date Opponent Ballpark Game 1 Score (Winning Pitcher) Game 2 Score (Winning Pitcher)
October 3, 2015 Phillies Citizens Bank Park 7-6 (Chris Narveson) 5-2 (Justin Nicolino)
May 25, 2008 Giants Dolphin Stadium 8-6 (Mark Hendrickson) 5-4 (Kevin Gregg)
May 28, 2003 Expos Pro Player Stadium 4-3 (Tommy Phelps) 6-0 (Michael Tejera)
September 21, 1999 Expos Pro Player Stadium 5-3 (Dennis Springer) 4-0 (Reid Cornelius)
June 8, 1999 Orioles Pro Player Stadium 2-1 (Brian Edmondson) 5-3 (Antonio Alfonseca)
September 26, 1998 Phillies Pro Player Stadium 4-3 (Antonio Alfonseca) 1-0 (Rob Stanifer)
Source: Baseball-Reference

Unfortunately, even that overstates the odds of another sweep occurring. Their performance under these circumstances has been especially lousy over the past decade. Dating back to 2009, they have won just one in 15 tries.

Remember how it felt to watch Tom Koehler go through the motions at the plate? Well, even the recently traded right-hander (.085 career batting average) was a better bet to help his own cause than the Marlins are to win twice in a single day during this recent doubleheader drought (1-for-15 translates to a .067 average).

Of course, Marlins Park puts the team at a distinct disadvantage. The Fish haven’t hosted any doubleheaders in six years! And that won’t change in the foreseeable future. Major League Baseball only schedules them to make up for postponed games, and the ballpark’s retractable roof is used in case of inclement weather to avoid those postponements.

Doubleheader sweeps are always the exception to the norm, regardless of the venue or quality of opponent. Only three of the first 19 completed MLB doubleheaders in 2017 went unanimously to one team.

Although in the midst of a pathetic season overall, the Phillies could prove to be feisty on Tuesday. They have played nearly even with their competition since the All-Star break (16-19, minus-19 run differential). Adding to the challenge, ace Aaron Nola will take the mound for Game 1.

My advice? Tune into the doubleheader with low expectations, but stick around as long as the sweep still seems possible. Maybe—just maybe—the Marlins will deliver a beautiful surprise to make it all worthwhile.