DENVER -- Second place is no consolation. Not for the Marlins. Not after another unsatisfactory season.
But, despite dropping a 6-0 decision to Colorado on Tuesday, the Marlins maintained their grip on the bridesmaid spot in the National League East, albeit a distant ways behind first-place Washington.
Twenty-one games distant.
Nonetheless, the Marlins are in position to finish as high as second for only the fourth time in their 25-year franchise history (they’ve never finished first).
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They remained three games in front of the third-place Braves, who arrive in Miami on Thursday for four games to close out the season.
“I don’t know that it necessarily means anything,” said manager Don Mattingly. “It means we played better than the other teams in our division. It tells you you’ve been able to hang in there, at least.”
It doesn’t exactly make the Marlins feel better that they’re likely to finish ahead of three teams: the Braves, Mets and Phillies. And with a record of 74-83, it has hardly been a season to celebrate.
“The fact you’re not in the basement, yeah,” said pitcher Dan Straily. “But you’re not excited to finish second. You’re either first, or you’re in that group that don’t make it to the playoffs. It leaves this kind of bitter taste for the offseason.”
The Marlins also finished second in 1997, 2003 and 2009. They won the Wild Card and the World Series in ‘97 and ‘03. And ‘09 marked the last time they finished with a winning record.
Should the Marlins hang on for second, it says more about the poor quality of the NL East -- outside of the Nationals -- than it does anything else. It doesn’t provide the Marlins with even a small degree of satisfaction, that’s for sure.
“I think if you’re not playing in the playoffs, it doesn’t mean anything,” said first baseman Justin Bour. “If you’re not playing in the postseason, it’s no different if you finish second or last.”
-- Giancarlo Stanton figured to do some damage at Coors Field, where he has excelled in the past. But Stanton has gone 1 for 9 in the series so far and remains stuck on 57 home runs. Stanton expressed his frustration Tuesday when he threw his bat and slammed his batting glove inside his helmet after bouncing back to the pitcher in the sixth.
-- The Marlins were shut out for only the third time at Coors Field, losing 11-0 there on Aug. 6, 1996, and 13-0 on Sept. 16, 2007.
-- Jose Urena was denied his 15th pitching win, allowing six runs in five innings. He gave up nine hits and walked four. Urena gave up a 3-run homer to Trevor Story in the first inning and a two-run shot to Nolan Arenado in the fifth.