It’s a slower time in the sports world right now with three of the four majors in chill mode.
Thankfully, the Marlins are keeping us interested in baseball season. This is somewhat shocking after the awful stretch they endured in April and May.
The main thing that stinks for the Marlins is the same thing that applies for most of the National League.
There are four teams that are head-and-shoulders above the rest of the NL, three of which reside in the West.
For any team outside those four, it’s a tough climb to a playoff spot.
Well, except for the Central Division, which is actually pretty evenly matched and separated by 6.5 games from top to bottom.
The Cubs are currently the first team out of the Wild Card, trailing the second spot by 8.5 games. They trail Milwaukee for first place in the Central by 1.5 games.
The Marlins are third in the NL East, a half-game behind Atlanta and 10 games back of first place Washington.
Miami trails the second Wild Card spot by 12.5 games.
So yeah…playoffs not likely. Even a late-season playoff chase seems unrealistic.
But hopefully as long as the Marlins keep winning more games than they lose, people will remain interested.
It’s Tuesday, June 20th and here are the local sports happenings.
MARLINS: A DIFFERENT KIND OF OFFENSIVE
Baseball season is going strong and so are the Marlins, who have won 14 of 21 and are fresh off an impressive comeback win over the first place Nationals.
Miami’s hitting from top to bottom has really been impressive.
Alternating lefties and righties in the batting order has worked out for Don Mattingly, which began with moving Giancarlo Stanton to the second spot, between Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich.
Also have to give some attention to fill-in shortstop JT Riddle, who seems to be getting better with more playing time.
There are a lot of people, myself included, that think Riddle should remain in the everyday lineup even after Adeiny Hechavarria returns from the DL.
While Hech is the better defensive player, Miami’s strength has come from its offense and Riddle has played a big part in that.
It’s always been more of the opposite for Hechavarria, who has made highlight-reel plays in the field but holds a career batting average of just .255, which is actually better than the .236 he hit last season.
The busiest of the offseason sports is definitely hockey.
The league is hustling and bustling this week as the new franchise in Vegas selects its roster as part of the expansion draft.
The Panthers are watching this very closely as they left several key players exposed, including 30 goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault.
While many fans are upset at Florida for not protecting the young scorer, there are a couple of reasons why this could actually make sense.
I highlighted them last night on Twitter:
Something that became more and more apparent as the season went on and games became more important was that Marchessault was a defensive liability.
Once opposing teams realized this, it became a freefall of goals against while Marchessault was on the ice.
He was a ridiculous minus-17 during a 21-day stretch between February and March, which happened to be when the Panthers went from playoff contenders to… well, nothing.
Should Marchessault have another strong season, even if his scoring drops off a bit, he will still be due a big pay raise next summer.
Tallon and the Panthers may want to avoid giving out another long-term deal to someone they aren’t completely sold on.
Remember, deals were given to Nick Bjugstad and Reilly Smith and both have seemingly regressed since signing on the dotted line.
Smith was also left unprotected, for what it’s worth.
Other notable Florida players that could be taken by the Golden Knights are Jussi Jokinen, Jason Demers, Colton Sceviour, Roberto Luongo and captain Derek MacKenzie.
The list of players that Vegas selects will be released on Wednesday night. They will take one player from each other the 30 NHL teams.
DOLPHINS RESTING, RILEY (probably) SCHEMING
Football just finished up with its offseason program and is enjoying its ‘summer vacation’ which lasts about five weeks.
Don’t expect much Dolphins news until training camp arrives in late July.
While some of the players are relaxing and vacationing with family, the majority of the team is still putting in work and preparing for what’s to come.
As for the Heat, Pat Riley is probably sitting in a dark room somewhere plotting his next attempt at world…er, league domination.
Expect more from the Heat in the coming weeks as the NBA Draft draws closer.
MIAMI SOCCER IS ALREDY HERE
I know everyone has been getting excited for David Beckham’s MLS franchise finally becoming a reality, and rightly so.
But what many people may not realize is that there is already a pro soccer team in South Florida and they’re having a pretty impressive year.
Miami FC has been dominating the North American Soccer League, sitting in first place with a 8-3-1 record in league play.
They are also a perfect 3-0 in US Open Cup play, which includes a dominant 3-1 win over MLS’ Orlando City.