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MLB Playoffs: The First Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins Playoff Series Since 2003

The 2020 Wild Card round is here. Let’s take a look at what the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins have in store for us!

The Cubs by WhosThisValGirl is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

MLB Playoffs: The First Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins Playoff Series Since 2003

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Well, the 2020 MLB Playoffs are upon us. Despite all the obstacles, all but two teams (STL and DET) managed to play the full 60 game slate. Now 16 teams will embark upon a modified playoff journey suitable to this most unique 2020 season. Who will be left standing at the end, raising the World Series trophy in Arlington, Texas at the end of October?

Join us as we preview each MLB playoff series, diving into what’s at stake for each team, how they stack up, and the keys to victory for each squad. Today, we’ll have a look at what’s ahead for the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins face off in the Wild Card round.

This matchup features teams with differing histories when it comes to the postseason. The Cubs won it all back in 2016. They made it back to the playoffs in ’17 (losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS) and ’18 (losing the Wild Card game to Colorado). Having kept most of the roster intact from 2016, they prevailed in the NL Central Division. Of course, they’ve also got 90 years of additional history behind them when compared to Miami.

The Marlins, whose inaugural season was 1993, haven’t seen October baseball in quite a while. It was way back in 2003 when the fish took down the Bronx Bombers to win their last World Series title. For a team that’s been in “rebuild” mode for quite some time, they were a bit of a surprise to land in the playoffs.

They certainly were helped by the fact that the rest of their division was pretty terrible (except the Braves), but they definitely earned their spot. An early season COVID cluster left them scrambling almost from the start. Their youth movement has carried the load and will look to continue riding that talent all the way to a ring. Did I mention that both times the Marlins have made the postseason (1997, 2003) they went on to win it all?

Chicago Cubs Keys to Victory

If the Cubbies have any hope of making it to the World Series, they’ll need their bats to catch fire. Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant weren’t exactly tearing the cover off the ball, especially as the season wound down. They’ll need to start performing like the superstars we’ve come to know them as if they wanna move forward.

While the urgency isn’t there as much as it is with the lineup, the rotation will have to be at the top of its game as well. Yu Darvish, John Lester, and Alec Mills have all turned in solid seasons and make for a pretty imposing trio that the Marlins will have to deal with. Kyle Hendricks is no slouch either, should he toe the rubber instead of one of the others.

Miami Marlins Keys to Victory

The Marlins had 13 different pitchers start a game for them this season. Manager Don Mattingly had to patch things together all over the field throughout the season. Clearly, he did a pretty good job stitching it all together. He’s been able to solidify who his starters will be for this series, and it’s a pretty strong trio. Sixto Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara, and Pablo Lopez will be charged with keeping the Cubs bats at bay.

Offensively, they brought in Starling Marte at the trade deadline. They’ll look for him to bring his speed and power to the lineup. The bats around him will need to do so as well, or they could be heading to the golf course pretty quickly.

Final Call: Chicago Cubs in 3

A #3 seed vs. a #6 seed has all the ingredients necessary for an exciting series rather than a blowout. I do think these two squads will live up to that billing. If both rotations are at the top of their games, it will come down to the offenses. The Cubs, should their core of studs get hot, just have more weapons. Mattingly’s men have a lot of team speed that could cause some headaches for Chicago.

Ultimately, I think the Cubs have more impact guys available to do damage throughout the series. I think this is the year that the Marlins finally experience playoff baseball without actually winning it all.

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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