The Marlins’ pre-trade deadline scheduleBy
With less than two weeks until July 31st, the Marlins have yet to fully determine their stance at the MLB trade deadline. As Buster Only reported (via twitter) on Monday, the team will enter “sell mode” if there is no immediate turnaround. To keep that from happening, and to keep the Marlins at least relevant in the playoff discussion, the team must play well in the coming stretch of games. Luckily, the schedule for the remaining part of July provides the Marlins with ample opportunity to get back into Wild Card contention.
The Marlins play both of the wild-card leaders, the Pirates and Braves, in three game sets. Right after those two match-ups, the Marlins will host the Padres, one of the worst teams in baseball this year. As if that isn’t enough, the team will then play the Braves again following the series with San Diego.
The first chance for the Marlins begins tomorrow in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are currently 51-40, and atop the wild-card leader board. Sitting 7.5 games back from them, Miami could greatly use a series victory or, even better, a sweep against the Bucs’ to help make up ground quickly. On the other hand, losing two or all three could push the team to over 10 games back, and most likely solidify the Marlins as sellers at the deadline. It’s also worth noting that the Marlins 3-4-5 starters are lined up for the Pirates series, making scoring runs even more critical to success.
Next, the Marlins head back to Miami, where they’ll face the 50-41 Braves. The Marlins are six and a half games back from the Braves, who are in line to receive the newly added second Wild Card. Although, the Marlins may be closer (or farther) by the time of the series, which doesn’t start until Monday. Atlanta takes on Washington this weekend, and it’s one of the few times that fans from South Florida will be rooting for the Nationals. Either way, the Marlins will have a good shot at taking at least two games, as they have the top of the rotation scheduled to start.
The Padres, with a 38-55 record, then make their way to Miami for a three game series. These games aren’t nearly as important as those against the Wild Card leaders, but it would still be nice to take advantage of a struggling team like the Padres.
The hope is that the Marlins can pull off series victories against the Pirates and Braves, and then capitalize against weaker competition in the Padres. The Marlins can benefit from an advantageous schedule in the latter part of July, and success over the coming week or two could keep the team from looking to sell at the deadline, while also keeping October hopes at least within grasp.
Then again, losses could trigger the trade of a few Marlins’ veterans, and effectively end the realistic chances of contention this season.
Although it’s certainly wouldn’t be a death sentence, if the Marlins have serious aspirations of playing meaningful games in September, now is the time to start showing some sense of urgency.