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  • How the Brewers Match Up Against the Marlins in the Playoffs

    Jason Wang

    As one of the three teams with 79 wins, the Marlins are competing with the Cubs and the Reds for the last NL Wild Card spot. If they’re successful, they’ll face the Brewers in the first round, so how might that go?

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    Starting Pitching
    The Marlins may have one of the most underrated starting rotations in baseball. Sure, defending NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara has regressed heavily and isn’t nearly as dominant as in 2022, but his compatriots have done an incredible job holding down the fort. 

    Jesus Luzardo and Braxton Garrett have performed admirably, but rookie Eury Perez is the name to watch. He’s posted a 3.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 91 ⅓ innings pitched. He’s got an ERA+ of 141, the best of any starter on the team, and has been a major piece of what’s made their rotation so successful and given them a combined ERA of 4.15, ninth in MLB. Furthermore, based on how Alcantara is recovering from his flexor strain, he might still be able to make a start in the postseason and continue his second-half momentum (3.20 ERA over 70 ⅓ innings pitched).

    What Miami needs to improve in peak performance, they make up for in consistency. The Brewers still have a better-combined starter ERA (3.93) over the season, but compared to the Cubs and especially the Reds, the Marlins have the most comparable frontline pitching staff. The first six innings of each game in the series may create fascinating pitching duels.

    Relief Pitching
    Unlike their starters, Miami’s bullpen has been somewhat inconsistent this season, posting a combined 4.23 and 1.34 WHIP. Tanner Scott and Andrew Nardi are the only two qualified pitchers on the team with ERAs below 3.00, and there’s quite the disparity between them and the next few guys.

    Unfortunately for them, the Brewers bullpen is the best of the best, a stark improvement over whatever the Marlins can offer. The likes of JT Chargois (3.46 ERA), George Soriano (3.54 ERA), and Bryan Hoeing (4.19 ERA) can’t compare to the Hoby Milners and Bryse Wilsons of the world.

    The Brewers will have a significant pitching advantage in the later innings and should look to do most of their scoring against the weaker part of the Marlins pitching staff.

    The Miami Marlins are one of the few playoff teams with a potentially worse offense than the Brewers, albeit by a small margin. Their team OPS of .712 puts them just below Milwaukee’s mark of .721. However, there are still some key bats that may spell trouble if not respected properly.

    Jake Burger has been one of MLB's best trade deadline moves, similar to the Brewers’ own acquisition of Mark Canha. He’s slashing .308/.364/.521 over 187 plate appearances and has quickly become the team’s most valuable offensive piece. Luis Arraez is no longer chasing the hallowed mark of a .400 batting average, but .354 would still be the highest full-season mark since Josh Hamilton in 2010. Jorge Soler has mashed 36 home runs, and Jesus Sanchez has been consistently above average all year, posting an OPS+ of 113.

    The Brewers have made big hitting strides after the All-Star break but still have a ways to go. While they lack the same power threat (Willy Adames leads the team in HR with 24), they’ve got slightly more depth and momentum at the plate than the Marlins. 

    Overall Takeaways
    Of the three teams fighting for the #6 seed, FanGraphs has given the Marlins the best odds at taking the spot at 54.1%. If they face Milwaukee in the first round of the postseason, they’ll be a formidable foe. Still, their lack of a formidable bullpen will likely be their Achilles heel, a weakness the Brewers can exploit to cruise into the NLDS. 

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