Well, the 2020 MLB Playoffs are upon us. As baseball finally moves into it’s Bubble phase, 16 teams are squaring off to determine this year’s World Series champion. While it’s hard to think that there won’t be an asterisk next to the 2020 title, a champion will be crowned.
The MLB is a fickle beast. Star-driven and tank-friendly, teams in the dumpster one year can be the king of the mountain the next. With that, stakes are high for almost every team as they make their playoff run, with sought-after stars often heading for greener pastures if they feel their squad can’t get over the hump.
We’re looking at each of the MLB playoff contenders and diving into what’s at stake for each team, the odds of making a deep run, and key storylines to watch.
Let’s hit the Miami Marlins, and their chances at securing a ring in 2020.
Expectations: Who cares? This is AMAZING.
The Miami Marlins were 3-9 through their first 12 games in 2019. It took 25 games for them to reach 8 wins in 2019. In 2020, the Miami Marlins were 8-4 through 12 games.
The last time the Marlins were in the postseason they won the World Series against the Yankees. That was over 15 years ago. In a world where things often feel upside down, the Marlins have done the impossible.
They’re going to the postseason. What the hell?
After losing half of their team to COVID, and becoming the laughingstock of the MLB for a solid two weeks while they recovered, the Marlins rocketed towards playoff contender status, and have held on. That’s insane. Anything from here on out is gravy. The Marlins shouldn’t be in the postseason, but that’s 2020 for you.
What’s Working for Them: Pitching and Don Mattingly
The Marlins have had a strong stable of young arms in their farm system the last few years, and we’re finally seeing them come into focus. Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara have had great short seasons, and have been the rocks of this rotation. Sixto Sanchez, the big piece that came from Philadelphia in exchange for J.T. Realmuto, has also been as advertised in 2020. The young arms of Miami have shown up in 2020, and that’s made all the difference for the Marlins.
The volatility of the Marlins roster has also played right into the matchup-happy, shift-heavy, and constantly changing lineups of Don Mattingly. While the Marlins recovered from the outbreak of COVID-19, Mattingly was forced to play younger players in big situations while his Opening Day roster recovered. That meant pushing players to early MLB debuts, having Jon Berti play every position on the field, and forcing slumping players like Lewis Brinson into action.
And it worked. For all the flack Mattingly gets for tinkering with lineups and playing matchup baseball, 2020 was the perfect year for his type of managerial stylings. Mattingly was born to manage in 2020.
What Might Hold Them Back: Time
If there was ever a time for the Marlins to turn into pumpkins, it’s the first round of the playoffs. Especially when facing off with a team that has more experience in the playoffs. The Marlins might get snuffed out sooner rather than later.
Can the Marlins Magic continue? And if so, for how long?
Storyline to Watch: The Marlins have NOTHING TO LOSE.
The Marlins are playing with house money. Anything from here on out is gravy. Soak it up, Marlins fans. This is either the beginning of the turn around, or it’s a brief shining moment in the midst of their rebuild. Either way, this team has some serious cosmic energy behind them.
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