Though we entered this season with playoff hopes, briefly justified by a scorching start, we now enter this August weekend battling the Marlins for last place. And to be clear, these are not the Marlins of last year who sported the best outfield and one of the most potent lineups in the National League. These are the rebuilding Marlins who traded away most of their lineup last off-season and now carry a roster full of unfamiliar names. Can you name their starting outfield? Derek Deitrich, Brian Anderson and Lewis Brinson (currently injured) have replaced three All-Stars. Meanwhile not one starter in their rotation sports an ERA under 4.00.
By rights, the Mets should be licking their chops at the prospect of sweeping this team on the road this weekend, but a) the Mets are undermanned with half their good players either on the disabled list or playing for another team and b) the pesky Marlins always seems to save their best for us.
How is it that this Marlins team, that unloaded the entire top half of its lineup, is still outscoring the Mets? Catcher J.T. Realmuto is a star, slashing .290/.340/.501 while playing some darn good defense behind the dish as well. Beyond that, they have four other hitters with OPS over .700. The Mets have just
four three. The same five Marlins all have OBPs over .330. The Mets have just three two such players. While the Mets lineup and field has been a merry-go-round of players due to injuries, slumps, trades, platoons, and demotions, the Marlins have been more or less trotting out the same group. It helps to know where you’re playing and who’s playing next to you.
Entering this weekend series, the Mets stand just two games ahead of the Marlins. Fourth place stinks, but it sure beats the cellar.