The Marlins (29-28) enter Friday with a magic number of two to clinch their first MLB postseason berth since 2003. Their odds of accomplishing that, according to FanGraphs, are 90.6%. For comparison’s sake, those were roughly the same odds they had of winning Thursday’s game when leading the Braves 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth. Fans should feel very optimistic, yet it’s still far from a certainty.
If the Fish win two of their final three games, then they’ll finish second place in the NL East and make it in (either as the No. 5 or No. 6 seed). They could also back their way in if the Phillies lose at least twice to the Rays and the Mets lose at least once to the Nationals. A clinch could come as early as Friday night if the Marlins win and the Phillies lose.
The NL Wild Card spots (No. 7 and No. 8 seeds) are a fallback plan should the Phillies sweep the Rays to vault themselves into second place. This weekend, the Marlins will be rooting for the Cardinals over the Brewers, the Padres over the Giants and the Twins over the Reds to lower the bar as much as possible.
Yankees series preview
The Marlins have gone 8-9 against AL East teams so far in 2020. This will be their first taste of the Yankees (32-25), who are especially successful at home, posting a 21-7 record and plus-71 run differential in The Bronx.
Probable starters: Friday—RHP Sandy Alcantara (3.12 ERA, 4.16 FIP in 34.2 IP) vs. J.A. Happ (3.25 ERA, 4.36 FIP in 44.1 IP); Saturday—LHP Trevor Rogers (6.84 ERA, 4.66 FIP in 25.0 IP) vs. RHP Deivi García (4.88 ERA, 4.77 FIP in 27.2 IP); Sunday—José Ureña (6.00 ERA, 6.28 FIP in 21.0 IP) vs. TBD
Notes: Due to the lengthy pregame rain delay on Thursday, the Marlins traveling party arrived at Newark airport at 4:41 a.m. (about three hours later than originally planned)...Working in Miami’s favor, the Yankees have already clinched a postseason berth and are locked into second place in their division. They won’t be playing/managing with the same urgency to win. Even though their ace, Gerrit Cole, would’ve been lined up to start Sunday on regular rest, he’s instead being saved for next week’s Wild Card Series opener...Old friend Giancarlo Stanton is slashing .214/.290/.429 with one home run in seven games since returning from a hamstring injury...Our own Spencer Morris discusses Edward Cabrera’s career journey and what to expect from the Dominican right-hander if the Marlins give him an opportunity to pitch in this series.
Remember José Fernández
Early in the morning on September 25, 2016, José Fernández died in a boating accident. It was a devastating loss for the global baseball community, one from which Marlins fans in particular may never fully recover from. José had established himself as a top-tier major league pitcher at age 24. Moreover, he was the perfect ambassador for the sport, fully embracing the pressure of performing well every start and the privilege of playing a game for a living.
No. 16 is always on my mind.
- The Marlins are providing resources to help their fans vote in November’s U.S. election.
- On a related note, have you voted yet for Roberto Clemente Award nominee Miguel Rojas? Do it here.
- Congrats to Sixto Sánchez on his selection to MLB Pipeline’s All-Rookie First Team.
- Marlins fans who identify as LGBT are encouraged to join this Facebook group.
- Order your Ride the Wave t-shirt now to receive it in time for the Wild Card Series!