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A Marlins player.
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Know Your Enemy: Miami Marlins

Another surprising Florida club comes to town

The Sox snapped a five-game win streak late in the Bronx last night, and traveled home to meet the Marlins of Miami, one of baseball’s forgettable franchises. Harsh? Possibly. But in another life, the Sox could have been transported to somewhere in Florida, toiling away under a blistering sun next to a rising sea, and only us old-heads would think sadly of them.

Unlike now, of course, where the White Sox are always relevant!

The Sox are a whopping 10-8 against the Marlins all-time. We own them. Live in their heads sans rent. Miami might as well pack it in now, boyos.

So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

Come on, they’re the Marlins. They’re terrible. Completely irrelevant, and here in June obviously outside the conversation of playoff potential. To confirm this, I’ll just take a big sip of water, and then take a peek at the standings.

Whoa! Thank goodness I first swallowed my water, or I would have ruined my computer with a classic spit-take. The Marlins are 35-28, and in second place. Hot damn! Now, they have a -24 Run Differential, and an X-W/L of 28-35. So there’s some luck, and at some point, that luck might turn, as it does even for people who usually get away with everything. And hopefully it’s this weekend. But they are hot, coming in on a six-game win streak.

Are The Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

The most fearsome hitter, dinger-wise, is Jorge Soler, who has 17 of them. He’s always been fun to watch, just a linebacker of a human being, and being the DH in Miami seems to agree with him this year. Other than that, only Bryan De La Cruz is sniffing double digits. Sadly, Jazz Chisholm Jr., who every Sox fan thinks belongs with us, is injured.

Oh get this — one of their players, Luis Arráez, only has one dang home run! That’s not fearsome!

Arraez is, however, batting .403 on June 9, which is awesome. Every time you turn on a game he’s got another three hits. And look, I know that batting average is a silly and even arbitrary stat, and that there are a million better ways to judge a hitter. Most of us by now, myself included, turn up our noses when a slap hitter is judged to be good because he’s hitting .310 with all singles.

But .400? Man, that’s something. Baseball is still a strange and unpredictable game with a million different ways to be good, and some guys, like Tony Gwynn and Arráez, are just sublimely talented at batting average. In today’s game, that’s almost quirky. It’s remarkable. It’s just plain cool to see someone be a BA freak. I love it. I love baseball.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

Friday, June 9
Sox: Dylan Cease (3-3, 4.63) is at a “your guess is as good as mine” stage right now.

Marlins: Eury Pérez (3-1, 2.55) blanked the Angels through 5 the other day, but has yet to get past the fifth.

Saturday, June 10
Sox: Michael Kopech (3-5, 4.33) was fantastic against the Tigers last week, seeming to settle on his two best pitches. Let’s hope that sticks.

Marlins: Sandy Alacántara (2-5, 5.07) got rocked in his last start by Oakland, which is a really weird thing to write.

Sunday, June 11
Sox: Lucas Giolito (5-4, 3.75) no-hit the Yankees through six. His pitch count ran pretty high, but he made the pitches when they counted. It was awesome. Let’s hope that continues

Marlins: Braxton Garrett (2-2, 4.47) Got beat up a bit in his last start against Kansas City, which is a really weird thing to write. Aren’t these guys supposed to be good?

Why Do We Hate Miami?

Miami is one of those cities that feels exactly like you think it would. It’s jammed with tourists, sure, but it feels like a place where people live. It’s hot and tropical and there are attractive people everywhere and and there is exogenous music coming from bars and homes and people on bikes and seeming to just come from everywhere. It’s great to visit.

But to live there? You’ve decided to live in a city that, as much as Phoenix or Las Vegas, shouldn’t be. It’s built on porous ground and the rising seas are going to make it uninhabitable within our lifetimes, but greedhead builders and a political class that’s short-sighted and sun-baked keep jamming in buildings, hoping sheer boosterism and head-in-sand syndrome will turn back the literal tides. It’s a city of real people that could survive to an extent if they pared back the bottomless, ravening need for growth, but that is impossible in the “always expand, never think things through” mindset that got us to this place.

Miami is exactly what you want it to be. Unfortunately, it will only always be that, until it can’t be at all anymore.

Why Do We Hate the Marlins?

In their now 30-year history, the Marlins have made the playoffs three times, winning the World Series twice. If you look at championships in a vacuum, that’s pretty good! A World Series every 15 years is a deal I would take. But of course, it’s not in a vacuum. Twice they won, and twice ownership tore it down to maximize profits. The ’97 champs lost 108 games the next year, and while post-2003 wasn’t quite as cynical, with the exception of the Ozzie Guillén Buying Spree in 2012 the Marlins basically stopped trying over the last 20 years.

Not counting 2020, they’ve been no closer than 15 1⁄2 games out at the end of the season, with a lot of 30 and 40 games back on the record. They exist as a cautionary example, a grubby money-making operation with absolute contempt for their fans. I can count off the top of my head three or four interesting things about them since 2003. I dare anyone to name more.

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