On the line in Marlins’ finale
PHILADELPHIA — Not all was lost for the Marlins this year. Their impressive finish brought excitement in the final weeks, and clearly showed the core is in place for a much improved 2016.
Still, there is unfinished business. Some individual and team accomplishments will be on the line Sunday in the finale against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Dee Gordon, the team’s MVP, is going for the National League batting title. The All-Star second baseman and Bryce Harper are neck-and-neck with one game to go. Harper is hitting .3307 to Gordon’s .3306.
Gordon has already wrapped up the stolen base crown, but if he gets two today, he will finish at 60. With 202 hits, Gordon is the likely hits champ, unless Jose Altuve (197) has a five-hit day and Dee is shut down.
Christian Yelich also is seeking to finish above .300 for the first time since breaking into the big leagues in 2013. The 23-year-old raised his average to .302 after his eight-hit doubleheader on Saturday.
As a team, the Marlins are 71-90. Obviously, not the goal. But considering where they were early in the year, they’ve made major strides.
The Marlins will end the year having won eight of their final 10 series.
Since Aug. 31, the Marlins are 19-11. To put that into perspective, they are among five teams with that many wins in the same time frame. The Cubs are 22-10, Angels 20-11, Dodgers 19-13 and Blue Jays 19-12.
The Marlins have outscored their opposition 130-123 in that stretch.
Another interesting fact, since Giancarlo Stanton (broken left hamate bone) went down on June 26, the Marlins are 41-45.
Obviously, that’s not to say Stanton’s absence helped. What it means is the team has found a way to compete and improve without their All-Star right fielder and most feared player. Imagine what the lineup could look like with Stanton?
The Marlins clearly are trending in the right direction.
— Joe Frisaro