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The race for the 2023 MLB Playoffs comes down to less than two months left of the regular season to decide the spots for the AL and NL Wildcards. The New York Yankees (59-56) have been battling health issues and inconsistencies throughout the season. This has caused them to go up and down in the AL East standings. The Miami Marlins (60-56) have been a team that has been near the top of the NL East late in the first half of the season. As the season progressed the Philadelphia Phillies soon eclipsed the Marlins in the standings.
The Yankees were among the top teams of a loaded AL East Division going well into June. They primed and ready for a World Series run after the 2-1 series clinch on the road over the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to a 4-1 win on June 4. It was in that game, however, when the Yankees began to collapse.
Star right-fielder Aaron Judge suffered a toe injury that would keep him out for a few games but then experienced several setbacks. The Yankees would go 24-30 in games without him this season.
The Yankees went into the 2023 MLB All-Star Break at 49-42 and they haven’t been the same team since. They have accounted for a 10-14 run in the second half of the season before the start of the season versus Miami.
The Miami Marlins had a rough start through the first two months of the 2023 MLB Season. After the 7-6 road loss to Colorado Rockies on May 25, the Marlins picked up steam in their proficiency. The Marlins would go from 25-26 to 53-39 going into the 2023 MLB All-Star Break.
The Marlins would lose their first eight games after the start of the second half of the season. They would experience inconsistencies at the plate that ruined any potential of accounting for a rhythm. Going into the series with the Yankees, they lost eight of the last 12 games.
This series will be a chance for either team to re-establish themselves back in the race for the Wildcard spot with time running out.
Despite having the All-Star talent on their team, the New York Yankees have seen some inconsistent play at the plate this season. This doesn't the fact that the Yankees have had another injury-filled season.
The two most efficient hitters this season for the Yankees are second baseman Gleyber Torres and first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Torres leads the team in runs accounted for (64), hits accounted for (116) and RBIs accounted for (48), while also accounting for a batting average of .270, an on-base percentage of .336, and a slugging percentage of .444. Rizzo is now on the IL and will miss the series versus the Marlins.
The Yankees are ranked 10th in the AL in runs accounted for (494), 14th in hits accounted for (872), 15th (last) in double-base hits accounted (151), fourth in home runs accounted for (159), 11th in stolen bases (69), fourth in walks accounted for (384), fifth in fewest strikeouts encountered (952), 14th in batting average (.232), 11th in on-base percentage (.306) and ninth in slugging percentage (.405).
The Yankees will need other players like rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe to help contribute to the lack of impact without Rizzo.
In the pitching game, the Yankees have found themselves in the middle ground in the AL. The Yankees are ranked seventh in the AL in ERA (3.97), first in hits allowed (889), eighth in runs allowed (495), 11th in home runs allowed (143), 10th in walks allowed (376), and ninth in strikeouts (1017).
Their best pitcher, as well as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball is Gerrit Cole (2.75 ERA in 150.1 innings pitched). They also have a set of reliable replacement and closing pitchers they rely on if some of their other starting pitchers struggle. They have been a huge asset to the Yankees, who would be a in worse situation without them.
Nestor Cortes (4.97 ERA in 63.1 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher for the Yankees on Saturday, while Cole is set to be the starting pitcher on Sunday.
The Miami Marlins have been a solid-hitting team this season that can find ways to get on base. The problem for the Marlins is finishing big moments and scoring consistently.
Miami is ranked 15th (last) in the NL in runs accounted for (470), second in hits accounted for (1035), 14th in home runs accounted, 14th in walks accounted for (304), fifth in fewest strikeouts encountered (929), second in batting average (.262), ninth in on-base percentage (.318) and 10th in slugging percentage (.400).
The Marlins have reliable hitters throughout their lineup, but three of the most consistent are second baseman Luis Arraez, left-fielder Bryan De La Cruz, and designated hitter Jorge Soler. All three of these players have accounted for over 100 hits and 50 RBIs this season. Arraez might be one of the most reliable hitters in baseball as he has accounted for 158 hits, 47 runs, 26 double-base hits, 52 RBIs, 31 walks, only 28 strikeouts, a batting average of .369, an on-base percentage of .414 and a slugging percentage of .460.
Like the Yankees, the Marlins have also found a good middle ground when it comes to consistencies at the mound. The Marlins are seventh in the NL in ERA (4.16), eighth in hits allowed (952), sixth in runs allowed (508), ninth in home runs allowed (133), fourth in walks allowed (355) and first in strikeouts delivered (1100).
The Marlins have three pitchers who have delivered more than 120 strikeouts this season. Starting pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett help make up one of the most efficient pitching units in baseball.
Sandy Alcantara (4.28 ERA in 149.1 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher for the Marlins on Saturday, while Eury Perez (2.79 ERA in 58 innings pitched) is set to be the starting pitcher on Sunday.
When it comes to philosophies at the plate, the Yankees and the Marlins couldn't be any more different. The Yankees are a power-hitting team that looks to get their runs in big plays while the Marlins are a team that wins by getting consistently. This is a series that can go either depending on when the teams get hot. Ultimately, it will be the pitching that will be the deciding factor in the games. Miami comes into the game on Saturday with the better pitcher, and on Sunday, both teams will have their great pitchers, but it will come down to the replacements and closers.
New York Yankees
Aaron Judge (.284)
Luis Arraez (.369)
Aaron Judge (21)
Jorge Soler (28)
Gleyber Torres (48)
Jorge Soler (62)
Aaron Judge (.414)
Luis Arraez (.414)
Gleyber Torres (116)
Luis Arraez (158)
Gerrit Cole (10)
Jesus Luzardo (8)
Ian Hamilton (1.83)
Eury Perez & Steven Okert (2.79)
Gerrit Cole (160)
Jesus Luzardo (155)
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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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