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Miami Marlins need a Hail Mary to reach playoffs

PHILADELPHIA -- The postseason picture is bleak for the Marlins, who are four back in the Wild Card race with 16 games remaining. They have about a two percent chance of pulling it off, according to ESPN calculations. One team executive I spoke with figured the Marlins would have to go 13-3 the rest of the way for there to be any chance of it happening.

The team's best 16-game stretch at any point during the season was a 12-4 run in late April and early May. So, essentially, the Marlins would have to play their best baseball of the season and hope that at least two of the three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card fray -- the Giants, Mets and Cardinals -- finish poorly. That's a lot to hope for.

But it's not impossible. It's not enough for the Marlins to win their five remaining series (two with the Nationals and one each with the Mets, Braves and Phillies). They're going to need to sweep two or three, and one of those must include their three-game set in Miami against the Mets on Sept. 26-28.

While a Wild Card berth is highly unlikely, the team's first winning record since 2009 is still within the realm. The Marlins enter their weekend series against the Phillies with a 73-73 record, and have nine games remaining against teams with winning records. But three of those will come on the final weekend of the season against the first-place Nationals, who have all but clinched the N.L. East and could be resting their stars in preparation for postseason play.