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Recapping a Historic First Half of the Season for the Miami Marlins

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Courtesy @Marlins

The Miami Marlins came into the 2023 MLB season without much hype. After finishing 24 games under .500 in 2022, the fish opened with the 10th worst odds to win the world series and an over/under win total being set at 76.5 for 2023. As the midpoint of the MLB season arrives and teams take a break for the All-Star festivities, it would be hard to argue that the Marlins haven’t been the most surprising team of the year. 

The Miami Marlins currently sit in a tie for second in the National League and top five in all of baseball with a record of 53-39. Miami is so far ahead of the preseason predictions that they could go 24-46 in the second half of the year and still go over their projected win totals. The Marlins have taken the league by storm and are starting to be seen as serious contenders by the rest of MLB. 

Offensively, Miami has been led by their two all-stars, Luis Arraez and Jorge Soler. Arraez has become a household name due to his incredibly hot start at the plate. The second baseman was batting over .400 well into June and is still leading the MLB with a .383 average. The next closest player in the MLB is Ronald Acuna who is currently batting .331, over 50 points lower than Arraez. Luis Arraez’ success has earned him a starting spot at second base for the National League in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game. 

While Arraez has been getting on base at an unbelievable clip, the Marlins’ other All-Star has been igniting the Miami offense with his power. Jorge Soler leads the Marlins in both home runs and runs batted in at the midpoint of the season. Soler has 51 RBIs and ranks sixth in all of baseball with 23 home runs. Soler’s powerful swing has been on full display so far this season as he ranks in the top 5% of the MLB in average exit velocity. Soler is on pace for an impressive 40HR and 100RBI season which resulted in him being selected as an All-Star as well for the first time in his career.

On the mound, it has been a group effort for the fish this season. The Marlins’ pitching staff has been up and down but has done enough to be about middle of the pack in the MLB and keep the team in ballgames. Miami currently ranks 14th in the MLB in ERA and 15th in opponent batting average. 

With their ace, Sandy Alcantra, struggling early in the year the Marlins turned to Jesus Lazardo, Braxton Garrett and Eury Perez to pick up the slack. Lazardo has been the Marlins top pitcher thus far, racking up eleven quality starts with a 3.29 ERA in his 19 appearances. Eury Perez was called up roughly a quarter of the way through the season and has been one of the biggest and most surprising bright spots. Through eleven starts, Perez has only allowed 14 earned runs and has an ERA of 2.36.

One of the main reasons the Marlins find themselves 14 games over .500 is their success in close games. Miami is 21-5 in one run games, a winning percentage that likely isn’t sustainable for the remainder of the season. The Marlins have had a number of clutch hits late in games and seem to just find ways to win. FSU legend Bobby Bowden once said “First you lose big. Then you lose close. Then you win close. And finally, you win big.” It seems like the Marlins have finally turned that corner and reached the “winning close” portion of their rebuild.  

The Marlins impressive first half has been done without much help from their young star Jazz Chisholm. Chisholm is one of the most exciting players in all of baseball but has appeared in less than half of the Marlins’ games this season due to injuries. Chisholm made a brief come back right before the All-Star break and provided an extra spark for the fish before suffering an oblique injury. The Marlins are hoping Jazz Chisholm will be good to go and back to bringing the energy for Miami shortly after the All-Star break.

The Marlins chances of winning the division are slim as the Braves have the best record not only in the NL East, but in all of baseball. However, the Marlins are currently first in the wild card standings and will be getting Jazz Chisholm back for the back stretch of the season. The Fish have a 74% chance to reach the playoffs based off win expectancy and their experience in close games could play a major role if the Marlins reach the postseason.

The Miami Marlins have been one of the best stories through the first half of the MLB season and fans in South Florida have fully embraced the team. The Marlins averaged just over 11,000 fans in 2022, but have been consistently bringing in crowds upwards of 20,000 in recent weeks. With the return of Jazz Chisholm and the full support of the city behind them, the Marlins hope to keep their miraculous season going and reach the playoffs for only the second time since 2003.

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