Those who still held out hope the Marlins would somehow get into the playoffs this season had those postseason dreams dashed Saturday night.
The Marlins, who have been on the outside of the National League wild-card race for some time, were mathematically eliminated with a 3-2 loss to the Nationals.
But who really thought after Miami’s 62-100 showing in 2013 that the Marlins would still have any sort of mathematical chance for the playoffs with just over a week left in the 2014 season?
For manager Mike Redmond, there was plenty of positives to take from his team being in the playoff conversation this season.
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“We’ve had a lot of fun but have had some tough days,’’ said Redmond, whose team is 74-80 after losing the first three games in this series to the Nationals.
“Give these guys credit, they kept fighting. We really improved. To see how much better some of these guys have gotten in a year is great. We just have to keep fighting and win as many of these games as we can.’’
Washington, which clinched the NL East title on Tuesday night, continue to hold the best record in the league over the Dodgers and will go for the four-game sweep at Marlins Park on Sunday afternoon. The Marlins close their season with a four-game set in Washington next weekend.
“We’ve always played them tough,’’ Redmond said. “The difference between where they are and where we are is their consistency in getting those big hits.’’
Saturday looked like a night in which the Marlins would get their sixth win over the Nationals this season, although a rough patch in the seventh inning was too much to overcome.
Miami led 2-0 going into the seventh and Jarred Cosart was managing the lineup, thanks in part to the defense behind him.
Ian Desmond led off the inning with a single and raced home when Ryan Zimmerman tripled to right when Reed Johnson misplayed the ball and had to chase it down at the wall.
Zimmerman didn’t tie the score, however, as he was thrown out at home by third baseman Casey McGehee off a chopper from Wilson Ramos.
Asdrubal Cabrera’s triple laced down the right-field line brought Ramos home with the tying run. Cabrera scored the game-winner on a single from Denard Span. Cosart (4-3) was pulled soon afterward.
“I wasn’t sharp, wasn’t crisp, wasn’t down,’’ Cosart said after allowing nine hits in 61/3 innings.
“There were a lot of balls down the middle of the plate. They’ve won 90 games for a reason. They did what you’re supposed to do with those pitches.’’
The Marlins, who have lost nine of 14 to the Nationals, took a 1-0 lead in the first when Justin Bour singled in Donovan Solano with two outs.
In the fourth, Johnson doubled into the deepest reaches of Marlins Park but took advantage of two throwing errors to come home and make it 2-0.
In the ninth, Miami made things interesting with Marcell Ozuna moving to third on Bour’s one-out single.
The game came to a close, however, when pinch-hitter Garrett Jones grounded into a double play.
“This year was great just because we were able to play meaningful games late in the season,’’ Redmond said. “Last year, losing 100 games, we were just trying to survive out there. This was big for us. We learned a lot.’’
▪ Nathan Eovaldi will start Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals after going 1-8 with a 6.04 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break. Eovaldi hasn’t recorded a victory since winning in Cincinnati on Aug.8.
Eovaldi has lost six of his past seven starts. He had a no decision after going 61/3 innings in an eventual loss to the Braves earlier this month.
“There’s no doubt we believe in this guy and his stuff,’’ Redmond said.
▪ The Marlins are giving out Jose Fernandez bobbleheads to the first 12,000 fans who attend Sunday’s game.
The Marlins will have Monday off before their final home series of the season kicks off Tuesday against Philadelphia.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-12, 4.48 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (12-11, 3.34), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Monday: Off day.