Friday, September 11, 2009

Not So Fast Philly

Just when you thought that the N.L. East was out of reach, the Marlins moved within 5 games of the division leading Phillies last night. A 13-4 defeat of the Mets secured a win for the Fish, while the Phillies failed to mount a comeback run against the Nationals.

Now it looks like the Wild Card is the race that is beyond reach, as the Rockies continue a magical run and counter every Marlins win with a victory of their own. There's only one way to stay in the playoff race, and the Marlins are doing that now: winning.

Winning 7 of their last 8 games is a part of the Marlins recent success in September. So far, falling out of contention doesn't seem to be in their agenda. Typically we would be speaking of "another late season collapse," as recent history has shown, but things may be changing for the good.

Hanley Ramirez is steaming hot, batting almost .360 - Baseball's batting avg. leader - and has returned to his offensive juggernaut status. He has driven in 3 HRs and 8 RBIs in the last 5 games. He may not be in consideration for N.L. MVP, but he should be an honorable mention, given the fact that he's carried the Marlins all season long. It's just too difficult to match Albert Pujol's stellar performance this season, that's what you call a bonafide stud and future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Looking forward to the upcoming series, the Marlins will finish off the season as follows:
  • vs. Washington National (3-game series)
  • @ St. Louis Cardinal (3-game series)
  • @ Cincinnati Reds (4-game series)
  • vs. Philadelphia Philles (3-game series)*
  • vs. New York Mets (3-game series)
  • @ Atlanta Braves (3-game series)
*The Phillies series will include a double-header, meaning 3 games in 2 nights.

With that said, if the Marlins get within 3 games of the N.L. East going into the Phillies series, there is a legitimate chance to take control of the division lead. Now, one thing has to happen - they must sweep the defending World Series Champs. It's a difficult task to amount, but it will define the Marlins as contenders or defenders.

Even if the Fish make it to the post-season and lose in the early rounds, it was worth the fight. Building a winning product on the field bring in attention and fan support. If that's what it takes to draw in players and put the Marlins on the map again, so be it.

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