On the first weekend of the regular season, Phillies broadcaster Ricky Bottalico refereed to the Marlins as bottom feeders, and said that the Phillies can't be losing games to teams like that if they want to make the playoffs. Well Ricky, they lost those games and now the Marlins are in the playoffs and the Phillies aren't.
The Bottom Feeders were predicted to be a bottom five team in the majors this season, but have over-preformed all season. This shortened season was designed for a cinderella team to make a run, and this Marlins team is just that. How exactly did the Marlins get here though?
The Marlins put together a roster this year that has often tried to be replicated, but has not often worked. They are loaded with young, high potential guys and then went out and signed some key veterans to cheap short contracts. They signed Corey Dickerson to a two year deal and Jesus Aguilar to a one year deal this past offseason. Both of these guys have been key bats in the middle of their order and played above their contract status. They didn't stop at adding bats, they also signed Brad Boxberger and Brandon Kintzler to their bullpen to help bolster the back end of their bullpen.
The Marlins dealt with COVID after the first weekend of the season, but got hot after returning from quarantine. This put them in position to make the playoffs at the trade deadline. They had yet another interesting strategy at the deadline, they both sold and bought. They traded away their starting second baseman at the time Jonathon Villar to the Jays, and also acquired Starling Marte from the D-Backs. Villar was the highest paid player on the team and was underperforming. Marte was hitting a career best .313 at the time of the trade and his numbers have came back a bit since the trade, but he was still a very important piece for them down the stretch.
After finishing second in the NL East, the Marlins were set with a date with the AL Central champs the Cubs. Marte was hit by a pitch in game 1 and has not played since, but this did not matter. The Marlins have this IDGAF attitude that they are carrying with them at this point in the season and it is so fun to watch. They swept the Cubs in two games to set up a date with the Braves starting today.
This Marlins team gives me 2014 Royals vibes with the way they carry themselves. They play very clean and gritty baseball and always seem to be hanging around in the game. They face yet another team with a more talented roster in the Braves, but do not count this team out at all. With Alcantara throwing today, Pablo Lopez in game two and the electric rookie Sixto Sanchez set for the first three games the Marlins are set up to potentially take two of the first three of this series. If this happens, watch out we might be seeing the Marlins in the NLCS with even more confidence.