Are The Marlins The Cinderella Team of The 2023 Postseason?
The 2023 MLB Postseason is about to get going today with four Wild Card games on tap and one interesting team in this seasons mix, is the Miami Marlins.
The Marlins have always been known to be that team to give fits to the better clubs, but haven’t really put it all together to win themselves. The last postseason appearance came in 2020, when they finished in second in the NL East, but lost in the NLDS 3-0. Prior to that, their last two postseason appearances resulted in World Series Championships (2003/1997). Can this years club be this seasons version of the 2022 Philadelphia Phillies? The big test will be against the Phillies, as they both face each other in Game 1 of the Wild Card series on Tuesday night.
The Marlins won 69 games in 2022, and finished in fourth in the NL East, but they made a huge adjustment in 2023, by winning 18 more games then last season, while losing 16 less games.
In the 2022 offseason, Miami made some interesting moves as they signed second baseman Jean Segura, which eventually moved All Star Jazz Chisholm Jr.to the outfield. Ironically, Segura was traded by the Marlins at the trading deadline, after just batting .219, with just three home runs and 21 RBIs. The key to that trade, brought 1B Josh Bell to Miami.
Luis Arraez, a name for the history books. pic.twitter.com/DGL7lCLuWj
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) October 1, 2023
Arraez made his presence known very quickly as he flirted with a .400 batting average through June 24th, but then came back to earth and slowly creeped down to his final batting average of .354, which gave him a second straight batting title. Arraez joined DJ LeMahieu as the only two batters to win batting titles in both leagues, but Arraez did the feat in back to back seasons.
Jorge Soler put up big numbers for the Marlins, as he launched 36 home runs, the most since his 2019 season with the Kansas City Royals, when he hit 48 home runs. Chisholm Jr, who became the everyday CF, spent time on the DL this season which also limited his time on the field, (97 games played), but he put up power numbers, with his career high 19 home runs. Third year Marlin, Bryan De La Cruz, also had a breakout season, with a career high of 19 home runs and 32 doubles. Josh Bell‘s arrival on August 1st, solidified the 1B position as he was also consistent with the bat, hitting 11 home runs in 53 games played, with at least one hit a game (54).
The Marlins did not have any lights out pitchers, but they did have arms like, Jesus Luzardo, who won 10 games in 32 starts and struck out a career high 208 batters, which was most by a Marlins lefty since Al Leiter‘s 200 Ks in 1996. The Marlins had two nine game winners in Braxton Garrett and Tanner Scott, with Scott also saving 12 of the 16 games. A.J. Puk, who was traded to the Marlins on February 11th, saved 15 of 24 games. Sandy Alcantara, who pitched to a 2.28 ERA in 2022 and 14 wins, won just seven games in 2023, while losing 14. BUt can still be a huge presence on the mound in a tight playoff game.
It’s been a special year in South Beach 🏖️
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 2, 2023
As a whole, the Marlins finished the month of April 16-13, and in third place in the NL East. The key to the early start, was taking two out of three in their first series with the Phillies. For the month of May, they were one game under .500 at 13-14, but overall they were 29-27, and tied with the Mets for second place.
The Marlins started the month of June winning six of their first seven games, then going on to finish 19-8, which pushed their record to 48-35 and sole possession of second place. They took a step back in July winning just nine games, while losing 15, falling out of second at 57-50, but still holding on to a Wild Card spot. Another key part of the month, was their second winning series against the Phillies, as they took two out of three right before the all star break.
July ended with a loss to the Phillies, and August began with a split of their four game series, but the Marlins still held a 6-4 edge over their division rivals. But after the month ended, Miami found themselves playing .500 ball with a 67-67 record, with a miserable 10-17 month and falling three games back of a Wild Card spot.
With the pressure on to secure their first postseason bid in three seasons, the Marlins went to work in September winning their first three series’; a four game game sweep of the Washington Nationals, two out of three of the Los Angeles Dodgers and another two out of three of the Phillies. Then after losing three of four to the NL Central Champs, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Marlins swept the Atlanta Braves in three games, and handily as they scored 36 runs on 44 hits, with the biggest blow a 16-2 demolition in the final game of the three game series. A huge feat against a division rival and possible postseason matchup, if they survive the first round.
somebody pinch us. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/1Q4e8AbU5S
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) October 2, 2023
The Marlins showed their resilience by finishing the month at 17-9, and overall finishing the season at 84-76. They snuck into the postseason, but not without playing some of their best baseball of the season, which should carry them into the playoffs.
Now they face off against a team that they played winning baseball against, the Phillies, with a shot to end their season and advance to the NLDS against the top team in baseball, the Braves. It’s not an easy road for the Marlins, especially if they want to be that team this season, but the postseason brings out the best in teams and these Marlins are playing some great baseball when it counts the most. Don’t count them out as they may surprise some and be the Cinderella team of the 2023 postseason.
Marlins v. Postseason Teams
Phillies: Marlins Won 7-6
Braves: Marlins Lost 4-10
Brewers: Marlins Lost 3-4
Diamondbacks: Marlins Won 4-2
Dodgers: Marlins Tied 3-3
Astros: Marlins Lost 1-2
Blue Jays: Marlins Lost 1-2
Orioles: Marlins Lost 0-3
Rays: Marlins Lost 1-3
Rangers: Marlins Lost 0-3
Twins: Marlins Won 2-1