BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
The South Florida fan base can criticize Marlins Manager Don Mattingly for the team’s 55-78 record, but before they go too deep with this, the club has been decimated by injuries.
As it stands, Jon Berti: day-to-day (hip), Anthony Bender: 60-Day IL (elbow), Braxton Garrett: 15-Day IL (oblique), Avisail Garcia: 10-Day IL (hamstring), Jordan Holloway: 60-Day IL (elbow), Daniel Castano: 7-Day IL (concussion, Max Meyer: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jazz Chisholm: 60 Day IL (back), Cody Poteet: 60-Day (elbow), Jorge Soler: 10-Day IL (back), Paul Campbell: 60-Day IL (elbow), Sean Guenther: 60 Day IL (arm).
Tonight, they take on the Philadelphia Phillies tonight riding a seven-game losing streak and are 29-40 on the road.
I’m not in the business to make excuses for a team that is struggling.
But as I listed above, the facts speak for themselves and it’s my responsibility to share them with you.
On August 31, 2022, I covered the Marlins vs Tampa Bay Rays contest.
The Sunshine State matchup has always been interesting on many fronts.
First, these are two small market franchises, that have low payrolls and rank near the bottom in MLB in attendance.
Second, both have been to a pair of World Series.
The Rays are 0-2 in the Fall Classic.
The Marlins are 2-0 and have two championship banners at LoanDepot Park.
Third, the Rays have dominated Miami over the past 21 games, going 19-2 winning this game 2-1 in 10 innings.
Before the game, Mattingly addressed us on the return of All-Star Trevor Rogers.
He would get a no-decision by hurling six innings, giving up five hits, yielding just one run, walked only one and recorded five strikeouts.
Berti hit a home run in the sixth inning for Miami’s lone run.
During the Media Availability, I had the opportunity to ask Mattingly a pair of questions which you’re going to hear in the video in this story.
First, I asked him if he thought that the Tampa Bay Rays were good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Second, in 2023, MLB will have a balanced schedule and as usual, Mattingly addressed that in an insightful manner.
The Rays swept the Marlins 2-0 in their midweek matchup and then won a three-game weekend series in St. Petersburg against the New York Yankees.
In the opening game of the series, Tampa Bay defeated the Yankees on Friday Night 9-0 in front of 17,886 at Tropicana Field.
Saturday Night saw the Rays defeat New York 2-1 in front of 21,754 and Aaron Judge hit his 52nd HR of the season.
Sunday afternoon, the Yankees defeated the Rays 2-1 and Judge smacked his 53rd homer of the year in front of 25,025.
Amazingly enough from the Rays standpoint, the balanced schedule could cost them at the gate with fewer Yankee visits. The Yankees train in Tampa and play their games at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Mattingly has always said that the Rays are the model for which the Marlins want to follow as the focus is on player development and adding free agents as missing pieces.
As things stand now, the Rays are 75-58 and would make the playoffs as a wild-card entry. They are currently five games back behind the Yankees in American League East.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are in fourth place with a 55-78 mark and for the last month of the season just need to find players that will be a part of the 2023 squad while monitoring what injured players will be contributors.
It will be interesting to see which Marlins players step up and whether Sandy Alcantara has earned enough national respect to win the Cy Young Award.
He’s certainly been a bright in a year that has seen all kinds of twists and turns, knowing the Marlins have good pitching, but the offense which was the question going into 2022, failed to deliver.
The Marlins have played 51 games this season decided by one run, most such games in the Majors, and surpasses their total from all of last year. Miami has a Major-League-most 30 losses in such games.
I can only imagine where the Marlins would be in the standings had the Marlins won at least 15 of those one-run games. This is something that management will undoubtedly look at during the off-season.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com.
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