With the likes of the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies propping it up, and the Washington Nationals guaranteed to crawl under the house and die, the National League East was destined to be a two-tier division this year. The pleasant surprise is that the Marlins have joined the upper crust, while the Atlanta Braves, brandishing a five times the payroll of the Marlins, are hopelessly out of the chase. This isnt due to some innate character flaw, easy as such a thing would be to ascribe to the team from Atlanta which always seemed to barely miss putting the title in entitlement. Instead, its a case of the Braves sucking just enough to lose, while the Marlins, no juggernauts, have consistently been just good enough to keep winning. Their position among the gentry is precarious, but they may be able to make a playoff push, assuming the bullpen figures out how to stop throwing the fattest softballs seen since the last time Sean Hannity interviewed Karl Rove. The Marlins close out their first September series on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium (2269 NW 199th St., Miami). Tickets start at $9. Call 954-523-3309, or visit florida.marlins.mlb.com.
Wed., Sept. 3, 2008