Baseball is finally back, Marlins fans, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a 60-game season will be played in 2020, rather than the usual 162-game slate. The Miami Marlins, led by manager Don Mattingly, who is entering his fifth season with the club, will open play on July 24-26 against Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Before the schedule revision, the Marlins were originally set to host the Phillies at Marlins Park March 26-29.
Mattingly is just grateful for the return to competition.
“I like the schedule because there are games on it,” he deadpanned to reporters Thursday on a conference call.
According to CBS Sports, however, the Marlins have the second-toughest 60-game schedule, only behind the Los Angeles Angels of the American League West. Four teams who earned postseason berths a year ago will visit the Marlins during the shortened season: the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.
Keep in mind that along with the 40 games against divisional opponents, 20 games will be played against their opposite league’s corresponding geographical division. In this specific instance, the Marlins will host the Boston Red Sox for a three-game battle September 14-16 at Marlins Park, a four-game, home-and-home split with the Baltimore Orioles July 27-30, a four-game, home-and-home split with the Toronto Blue Jays August 11-12 at the Rogers Centre and September 1-2 at Marlins Park, a six-game, home-and-home split with the Tampa Bay Rays August 28-30 at Marlins Park and September 4-6 at Tropicana Field and a three-game weekend series September 25-27 against former Marlin Giancarlo Stanton and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium to close out the 2020 campaign.
Through 60 games a season ago, the Marlins sat at 23-37, good for last place in a stacked National League East and 11 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.
Although the stakes are set in unfamiliar territory, the Marlins are carrying a three-word motto: “Why not us?”
“We’re in a pennant race,” Mattingly said. “It’s exciting to be in a pennant race and our guys are going to get great experience because it’s a different style of baseball you’ll be playing.”
Mattingly’s group is seeking a playoff appearance for the first time since securing their second World Series title in 2003 as the then-named Florida Marlins.