Marlins prove to be no wild fish tale

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In a shortened 60-game regular season, surprises were expected, especially with an expanded playoff field. However, no one was really taking the Miami Marlins as any sort of serious postseason contender.

Yet here they are with less than a week left and in prime position to clinch the franchise’s first postseason berth since 2003 — the year they last won a championship, ironically against the club they’ll see this weekend in the 2020 finale.

That would be the New York Yankees, who have strolled into an October berth as just about everyone was expecting. They’ll look to keep the momentum going into the playoffs but have a very hungry opponent standing in their way. Let’s try to see how all three pitching matchups can play out.

Friday

Sandy Alcantara vs. Deivi Garcia: Potentially one day, these two starters will lay claim to their respective league’s Cy Young Award in the same year, or maybe they’ll start opposite one another in the same All-Star Game. Alcantara just appeared in one last year during his first full rodeo in the Majors and shined, which is what he’s been doing again as of late. The 25-year-old has constructed four straight quality starts entering this week.

Then there’s Garcia, the highly-touted 21-year-old prospect who debuted at the end of August in notable fashion — a team victory over the crosstown rival New York Mets — and had been cruising up until his most recent start when he was dismantled by the Boston Red Sox. Despite the surprising dud, look for Garcia to rebound. UNDER

Saturday

Trevor Rogers vs. Jordan Montgomery: This once-in-a-lifetime season accelerated a number of entrances to The Show, with there being no minor league campaign. One such player that falls under this is Rogers, who hadn’t pitched above Double-A prior to this year. Even so, he’s done more than held his own, as evidenced by his 12.6 K/9 mark. Rogers can also say he beat Jacob deGrom.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is still settling in after missing so much time in recent years due to injury. He’s done a nice job overall, yielding two runs or fewer in more than half of his nine assignments. Here, though, he gets a lineup that has actually fared well opposite southpaws, as the Marlins own the sixth-highest batting average against left-handed pitching. OVER

Sunday

Jose Urena vs. Gerrit Cole: While Cole isn’t on his way to possibly win a Cy Young Award like he nearly did (and deserved) a season ago, that shouldn’t take away from the strong first year he had in the Bronx. After all, he’s still 6-3 with a desirable 3.00 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while also logging 11.86 K/9. This is the third straight season — and third time in his career — that Cole is recording double-digit strikeouts every nine innings.

Urena is a rotation stalwart, too, in his own right, having spent all six of his seasons in the big leagues on the Marlins pitching staff. That’s about where the comparisons can cease between the Dominican-born right-hander and his counterpart in this one. Still, Urena has been decent since his delayed season debut (thanks to COVID-19) earlier this month. Hanging in there decides this bet. UNDER

Last Week: 0-1

Season: 4-3

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