The Marlins are the proud owners of the best interleague record in the majors, but the Oakland A’s boast the best overall record in the majors.
Something must give when the two teams — relative strangers — meet at Marlins Park in a three-game series that begins Friday.
“I think there are some similarities between the two teams, just as far as they don’t have a bunch of [marquee] names,” Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee said. “I think they [don’t] have a lot of household names who are doing a really good job for them.”
The A’s have outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who will making his first visit to South Florida as a player. Cespedes, who was courted by the Marlins after he defected from Cuba and became a free agent, won last year’s Home Run Derby during All-Star week.
Though the A’s payroll of $83 million is larger than the Marlins’ figure of $47 million, Oakland still ranks 25th in terms of the money it spends on players. Yet they lead the majors in runs scored and own the best record at 48-30.
“That’s a team that doesn’t get a lot of publicity, media attention, probably not as much as they should,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “But they’re a great ballclub. Those guys hit. They’ve got some free-swingers. Those guys are swinging the bats, and they can pitch, too.”
The A’s will be making only their second visit ever to South Florida. They won two out of three from the Marlins at Pro Player Stadium in 2003. Overall, the Marlins lead 5-4 in their three meetings.
The Marlins have gone 8-1 in interleague play this season.
With their 3-2 victory Wednesday, the Marlins improved their record in one-run games to 18-10 — a significant turnaround from last year’s abysmal 24-35 mark in such contests. In fact, the Marlins are tied with the Pirates for the most one-run wins in the majors.
Probably the biggest reason for the turnaround is that the Marlins are scoring far more runs than they did a season ago.
“I think part of it is probably our offense,” Redmond said. “But part of it is probably our pitching, too, and having a great closer down there helps. But definitely the offense has helped.”
COMING UPFriday Anthony DeSclafani