Here we are twelve days before the non-waiver trade deadline and the fate of the Florida Marlins is still up in the air.
Currently they sit in fourth place in the National League East, 9 1/2 games behind the front running Braves. The Wild Card standings, however, show a much more encouraging story. As of this morning, the Marlins sit in seventh place, six games behind the Rockies and Reds (who are tied). Ahead of them are the Phillies, Mets, Dodgers and Giants.
Out of all of those teams I just mentioned, the only one the Marlins won't see again this year is the Dodgers. What's even more intriguing is the fact that eight of the next twelve games leading up to the July 31 deadline are against the Rockies and Giants.
So, Mr. Beinfest and Mr. Hill what to do?
I think the answer immediately lies in the four game series that begins tonight at Sun Life Stadium. Herein lies a golden opportunity to gain ground in the Wild Card race. If they get past this hurdle the Marlins will have the Giants to contend with in San Francisco next week (another four game set). Oh, did I forget to mention that these two key match-ups are sandwiching a weekend series at home against the division leading Braves?
Ir seems to me that the fate of this season rests in the Marlins hands. The next eleven games will determine whether to buy or sell.
Just keep in mind where this team was in July of 2003. They were still recovering from that awful start before Jack McKeon was summoned to save the season on May 11. They also had somewhere in the neighborhood of ten or eleven closely bunched teams to climb over to win the Wild Card. We all know how that worked out.
This team has plenty of similarities to the 2003 squad. Both had a managerial change before the all star break, both were a long shot in the divisional race but were still in the thick of the Wild Card race at the trade deadline. More importantly both had a schedule that had them playing almost everyone ahead of them.
So tonight it begins. The biggest push, or biggest collapse of the year for the Marlins. What a way to start however, Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Rockies this evening.