Don’t look now, but the Marlins are quietly crawling their way back to .500.
Why, they’re even sneaking into the outer layer of the Wild Card picture.
With a 3-1 win over the Mets on Friday, they improved to 59-61, the first time they’ve been within two games of .500 since May 3 when they were 12-14. A check of the standings shows them seven games out in the Wild Card race.
“Don’t tell anybody. Don’t let ‘em know,” said manager Don Mattingly. “Just kind of sneak our way to .500 and go from there.”
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Of their 42 remaining games, 27 come against teams with losing records.
On Friday, they toppled the slumping Mets, who lost their fifth straight.
J.T. Realmuto cracked a two-run homer off Mets starter Chris Flexen while Justin Nicolino picked up the win by holding New York to a run over five innings.
“We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Realmuto said. “I feel like every night we go out there, we’ve got a good chance to win. We’ve just got to keep that momentum going. Who knows where we’ll be in 20 or 30 days?”
For Realmuto, it was his 14th home run and gave him 50 RBI for the first time in his career.
Mattingly said the goal now is to get back to .500.
“For us, just try to keep the emphasis on winning a series, keep marching down the road, and obviously, you’ve got to get back to .500 before anything can happen,” Mattingly said. “It would be good to be able to get there.”
▪ Giancarlo Stanton failed to homer. But he only got off two swings, as he walked his first two at bats.
▪ Nicolino has won each of his past two outings. On Friday, he finished strong, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced.
▪ The bullpen did its job, as Dustin McGowan, Drew Steckenrider, Kyle Barraclough and Brad Ziegler combined to go four scoreless to preserve the win. Ziegler is 5 for 5 in save opportunities since assuming closer duties.
▪ Steckenrider struck out the side in the seventh.
▪ Friday’s start was delayed by nearly two hours due to rain.
▪ Mattingly: For us, just try to keep the emphasis on winning a series, keep marching down the road, and obviusly, you’ve got to get back to .500 before anything can happen, so it would be goo d to be able to get there.