Seems like only yesterday the Marlins were coming back against teams, overcoming seemingly insurmountable deficits and generally making life miserable for the Mets and Phillies while making a run at history. The Marlins were within grasp of the NL East. Now, they’re a walking disaster.
Coming out of the All-Star break, it seems the offense was hit with a serious bout of Sudden Bat Death Syndrome, manager Fredi Gonzalez fell into a self-induced coma, and Kevin Gregg’s arm turned to mulch before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the Mets and Phils continued to pull away, until what was a one-and-a-half game lead became seven-and-a-half.
Last night, against a lowly Atlanta Braves club that came into Dolphin Stadium boasting a whopping 23-47 road record, the Marlins found themselves on the wrong end of an all-out slugfest. After the third inning, the Fish were down 10-3. They mounted a comeback with 10 runs of their own, only to allow the Braves to score four more. In the eighth, Florida made their second comeback of the game, tying the score 14-14. But in the ninth, Atlanta’s Ruben Gotay’s (totally not a made-up name) shot over Alfredo Amezaga’s head gave the Braves the lead again. The final score: Braves 16, Marlins 14. The Fish are now eight games back with only 23 games left to go. Said Fredi Gonzalez during the postgame interviews: “Just one of those crazy games. Balls were flying everywhere.”
Flying? For Marlins fans, feels more like they were whacked with a sledgehammer.
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-- Chris Joseph