It's looking more and more like the Marlins will finish with a winning record but fail to reach the playoffs, which is becoming the norm for them. The need only go 8-15 or better the rest of the way to wind up above .500, but have only about a 1 in 20 chance of making the playoffs based on the latest projections.
Since 2004, when the Marlins went 83-79 but fell short of the postseason, no team has had more winning seasons than the Marlins have had without any playoff appearances to show for them. Assuming there are no miracles in store, this will mark the fourth time since '04 that the Marlins could consider themselves good, but not good enough.
They also fell short with winning teams in 2004, '05 and '08.
About half of all winning teams end up in the playoffs, which makes the Marlins' streak of close-but-no-cigar finishes difficult to accomplish.
OPENING DAY 2010?
Major League Baseball is being hush-hush about the 2010 regular-season schedule, which it plans to unveil on Sept. 15. But I'm hearing the Marlins will open their season against the Mets at Citi Field, most likely on April 5. If so, it would mark only the 5th time in 18 seasons that the Marlins would open up on the road.
CHRIS VOLSTAD IS LIKELY SUNDAY STARTER
Rick VandenHurk is listed to start Sunday, but that is very likely to change. VandenHurk, who left Tuesday's game early due to back soreness, threw his normal between-starts bullpen session Thursday and continued to feel some discomfort.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said VandenHurk is improving, and a decision on Sunday's starter would not be made until Friday. But there are growing indications the Marlins will go with Volstad rather than risk further injury to VandenHurk.
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Nick Johnson, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. John Baker, c; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. Cody Ross, rf; 8. Cameron Maybin, cf; 9. Sean West, lhp.
Mets: 1. Angel Pagan, cf; 2. Luis Castillo, 2b; 3. David Wright, 3b; 4. Jeff Francoeur, rf; 5. Fernando Tatis, 1b; 6. Nick Evans; lf; 7. Omir Santos, c; 8. Anderson Hernandez, ss; 9. Bobby Parnell, rhp.