Miami Marlins Monday, Sept. 28, 2020: Marlins Clinch First Playoff Berth in 17 Years

by Mike Ferguson

Photo via YouTube

For the first time since the magical 2003 season, the Miami Marlins’ franchise is in the playoffs.

With Friday night’s win over the New York Yankees coupled with the Philadelphia Phillies’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Marlins clinched a trip to the postseason. With Sunday’s win over the Yankees, Miami clinched its first winning season since 2009.

Thanks to this year’s expanded playoffs, Miami will be the No. 6 seed in the National League and will face the Chicago Cubs in a best-of-3 series at Wrigley Field, beginning on Wednesday. The Cubs were the National League Central champions with a record of 34-26.

Week in Review

Miami Marlins 4, Atlanta Braves 5
Monday, Sept. 21

The Miami Marlins scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but the Atlanta Braves answered with four in the bottom half and never looked back. Austin Riley put Atlanta ahead for good with a 2-run double in the first. Miami left 10 men on base in the loss. Jesus Aguilar was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI for Miami.

Miami Marlins 1, Atlanta Braves 11
Tuesday, Sept. 22

Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson all homered for the Braves as Atlanta clinched the National League East. Ozuna was 4-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Freeman was 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Starling Marte homered to produce the only Miami run.

Miami Marlins 4, Atlanta Braves 9
Wednesday, Sept. 23

Dansby Swanson’s 3-run home run highlighted a 5-run fourth inning as the Braves broke a 4-4 tie and went ahead for good. Albies and Adeiny Hechavarria each had two hits and two RBIs for Atlanta in the win. Jesus Aguilar and Brian Anderson hit back-to-back home runs for Miami in the first. Anderson scored twice in the loss.

Miami Marlins 4, Atlanta Braves 2
Thursday, Sept. 24

An RBI single by catcher Chad Wallach and a 2-run double by Jon Berti broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning as Miami avoided a sweep. Aguilar added a solo homer in the seventh. Brandon Kintzler recorded six outs to pick up the save for the Marlins. Swanson drove in the only two Atlanta runs.

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Miami Marlins 4, New York Yankees 3
Friday, Sept. 25 (10 innings)

After an Aguilar sacrifice fly in the 10th gave the Marlins the lead, Brandon Kintzler induced the fifth double play turned by Miami on the night with the bases loaded to clinch a playoff berth. Prior to the 10th, a 3-run home run by Garrett Cooper in the first inning had accounted for all the Miami offense. Aaron Hicks drove in two runs for the New York Yankees.

Miami Marlins 4, New York Yankees 11
Saturday, Sept. 26

The Marlins led 3-0 midway through, but the Yankees tied it with three runs in the fifth before blowing things open with seven runs in the sixth. Aaron Hicks and Luke Voit each homered for New York. DJ LeMahieu was 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the win. Matt Joyce was 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Miami.

Miami Marlins 5, New York Yankees 0
Sunday, Sept. 27

Miami starting pitcher Jose Urena left the game after being hit by a comebacker, but Daniel Castano worked 6.1 scoreless innings of relief as Miami clinched its first winning season since 2009. Jazz Chisholm and Brian Anderson each homered in the victory. Chisholm finished with three RBIs and two runs scored. Brett Gardner had three of the Yankees’ six hits.

In the Standings

31-29, second place in National League East. The Marlins fell out of contention for the division on Tuesday, but managed to wrap up second place in the National League East. That comes with a Wild Card berth. It’s Miami’s highest finish since 2017.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Who’s Hot

Pablo Lopez, P
In a game the Marlins desperately needed on Thursday night, Pablo Lopez was stellar. Lopez worked five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. Lopez earned the win and finished with a team-high six victories for the season.

Jesus Aguilar, 1B
First baseman Jesus Aguilar went 7-for-23 (.304) this past week with two home runs, four RBIs and four runs scored. Aguilar had a number of timely hits, including the sacrifice fly in the 10th on Friday night that put Miami ahead for good. Among qualifying players, Aguilar hit a team-best .277 for the season.

Who’s Not

Miguel Rojas, IF
Miguel Rojas had an outstanding season, but it finished on a low note offensively. Rojas went just 3-for-22 this past week. That’s only a .136 average. During the week, Rojas had an RBI and two runs scored.

Stephen Tarpley, P
Fresh off the Injured List, Stephen Tarpley struggled on Saturday. After throwing a scoreless inning against Atlanta on Wednesday, Tarpley recorded just one out against the Yankees. Tarpley allowed five earned runs on two hits and two walks. Tarpley yielded a home run to Aaron Hicks.

News, Notes and Recognitions

Starling Marte left Sunday’s contest against the Yankees with an ear contusion. Marte was hit in the head by a pitch in the third inning.

Jose Urena left Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees after being struck on the forearm by a comebacker to the mound. Urena suffered a fracture on the play.

Friday’s playoff-clinching win for Miami came on the fourth anniversary of former All-Star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death.

Daniel Castano picked up his first career win for the Marlins on Sunday.

Upcoming This Week

Wednesday, Sept. 30 (National League Wild Card Series Game 1): at Chicago Cubs, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)
Thursday, Oct. 1 (National League Wild Card Series Game 2): at Chicago Cubs, (TBA)
Friday, Oct. 2 (National League Wild Card Series Game 3, if necessary): at Chicago Cubs, (TBA)

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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