The Miami Marlins are 13-26 since the All-Star Break, and I bet they don't want you to know that. They bulked up at the trade deadline, farmed a great season out of Sandy Alcantara, still have an MVP candidate in Luis Arraez, and continue to be in the running for a wild card spot. They're just not the sure bet they were in June. But everything they've been doing involves making an effort to distract from that.
For instance: have you seen what the new power duo of Bell & Burger have been doing since landing in Miami? Isn't that cool?
I initially scoffed at the Marlins' belief that taking Josh Bell out of Cleveland would erase his struggles, but it really was as simple as that: in 23 games for the Marlins, Bell is hitting .276 with 24 hits, 13 RBIs and 8 homers. A lot like Amed Rosario, something just wasn't clicking for Bell this year in Cleveland, and it took a new environment and new stakes to get him back to what he did best. What's more, Bell joining Jorge Soler in the heart of the lineup does bring this team back to what they were trying to do a few years ago, just pack the team with one-dimensional power hitters just to make sure something happened. I mean, yes, gone are the days of Jesus Aguilar and Starlin Castro having to start, but Bell is a higher ticket version of that which seems to be paying off more. It is a shame that fellow outsourced power supplier Avisail Garcia hasn't been so lucky, but with de la Cruz and Sanchez guarding the outfield, it's not all bad.
Jake Burger has been even more important to this team, because while Arraez has acted as something of a central figure for the new contact hitting mentality of this team, Burger is a bigger step in the direction of lining the roster with trusted hitters. Like how Rizzo was just waiting for Bryant to show up, Burger seems to be what the Marlins needed, a phenomenal hitter in so many ways. So far Burger's hitting .333 with 29 hits, 11 RBIs and 2 homers. There hasn't been a great deal of the clutch abilities he regularly displayed in Chicago, but there's still time for that to show up. In any case, Burger's a vast improvement over Jean Segura, who was previously guarding third before being traded for Bell.
The chief foe of this Marlins team, honestly, has been scheduling. Since the start of August, the Marlins have had to play 7 straight competitive teams, and said rocky momentum cost them during a series against the Nats. And aside from more games against Washington this weekend, series' against the Rays, Phillies, Brewers, Dodgers and Braves are all up ahead, meaning that unless the Marlins can somehow regain their killer June momentum, a competitive finish may be asking for too much. It's not a damning outcome for their status as a future playoff mainstay, but it may just doom what could have been a fun story for this year.
Coming Tomorrow- Out of absolutely nowhere, the Tigers most important player of 2023 just made his presence known.