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‘Jazz’, Marlins in final playoff push

Bahamian Jasrado ‘Jazz’ Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins are in the stretch run of their season, making one final push to get into the National League playoffs of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The Marlins have six games remaining, and whereas they don’t control their own destiny, they are just a game out of the third and final wild card position in the National League. The MLB regular season ends on Sunday.

As it stands now, the Marlins have an 81-75 win/loss record with six games to go. They are a game behind the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona  Diamondback  (both 82-74) for the third and final wild card spot in the National League playoff race.

The Marlins play all six of their remaining games in the regular season on the road – three against the New York Mets at Citi Field in Queens, New York, starting today, and three against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, over the weekend.

The Cubs play the National League East-winning Atlanta Braves and the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, both on the road, to end their season, and the Diamondbacks travel to Chicago, Illinois, to play the Chicago White Sox and return home to host the Houston Astros to end their season.

The Marlins own the tiebreaker advantage against both teams, and just two of the three will get into the playoffs unless the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres or San Francisco Giants make a late push.

On Sunday, the Marlins prevented the Brewers from clinching the National League Central Division, winning 6-1, behind two home runs from Jon Berti and a three-hit game from Jorge Soler. Xavier Edwards stepped in for injured Miami infielder Luis Arráez, the major league batting leader at .353, and had three hits and two stolen bases.

“This is what you play for, meaningful games in September down the stretch,” said Berti. “We just have a really tight-knit group of guys here. It just makes that much more fun and we’re going to keep doing it.”

Chisholm is one of those guys. A week after his historic two grand slam tally in two days against the Atlanta Braves, Chisholm had his 20th multi-hit game of the season. He went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored on Sunday. For the season, the Bahamian is batting .248 with 18 home runs and 47 runs scored. Chisholm has 22 stolen bases this season, one short of his career high in that department, and is just two home runs short of a 20-20 season. He has an on-base percentage of .299 and a slugging percentage of .451 for an on-base plus slugging percentage of .750.

The Bahamian star has been batting clean-up for the Marlins for much of the season and is hopeful of being one of the players to lead them into the playoffs. It will be particularly tough for the Marlins, battling down the stretch without some key pieces, including ace pitcher Sandy Alcántara, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner.

“We’ve talked about next man up for the majority of the year,” Marlins’ Manager Skip Schumaker said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries. Every team has a lot of injuries. It tests your depth and tests our staff’s belief in guys and just letting them know that we believe in them. I think there’s leadership in that clubhouse that helps that a lot. We don’t get to where we get to without that part of our clubhouse.”

The Marlins are looking to advance to the postseason for the second time in four years, following up on their appearance in the bubble in 2020. It would also be just the fourth time in the playoffs in their 31-year existence.

In two of those years, they advance all the way to the World Series, winning both times, in 1997 against the Cleveland Indians and in 2003 against the New York Yankees.

The Marlins finished 46-35 at home, up from 34-47 last year, and as mentioned, will end the regular season with three-game series at New York and Pittsburgh.

The Marlins will start left hand pitcher Braxton Garrett (9-6) on Tuesday against the Mets.