Marlins postseason FAQ: What comes next?

September 28th, 2020

The longest active playoff drought in the National League is now over after a 16-year dry spell.

The Marlins are returning to the postseason for the first time since winning the World Series in 2003. Their surprising turnaround comes in the third year of their building process, and a year after the club finished 57-105.

As the upstart squad prepares for the National League Wild Card Series to begin, here are the answers to questions about how the schedule, roster and rotation might look during the postseason.

What could the postseason roster look like?
C: Jorge Alfaro, Chad Wallach
1B: Jesús Aguilar
2B: Jon Berti, Jazz Chisholm
3B: Brian Anderson
SS: Miguel Rojas
LF: Corey Dickerson, Magneuris Sierra
CF: Starling Marte, Monte Harrison
RF: Matt Joyce, Lewis Brinson
DH: Garrett Cooper

Starters: RHP Sixto Sánchez, RHP Sandy Alcantara, RHP Pablo López, LHP Trevor Rogers

Bullpen: RHP Brandon Kintzler, RHP Yimi García, RHP Brad Boxberger, LHP Richard Bleier, RHP James Hoyt, RHP Ryne Stanek, RHP Nick Vincent, LHP Dan Castano, LHP Stephen Tarpley

What are the roster limits?
Teams can continue to carry a 28-man roster over the remainder of the season and throughout the postseason. The roster can change from round to round. There also is a 12-man “taxi squad” that is traveling with clubs, and those players are available to be added if necessary.

What are some tough roster decisions?
With the first round being a best-of-three format, the Marlins won’t necessarily have to carry five starting pitchers. Stephen Tarpley, reinstated from the 60-day injured list on Wednesday, is likely to stay on as a southpaw option in the bullpen. Hard-throwing right-hander Edward Cabrera, the club’s No. 6 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline, is on the taxi squad, and could be added to the postseason roster for a relief role. In terms of position players, the roster is pretty much set.

When will the Wild Card Series be played?
The Wild Card Series is a best-of-three set that will be played over three consecutive days from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The games will be played at the home park of the higher seed.

Who is Miami's opponent in the first round?
Seeded sixth, the Marlins will face the third-seeded Cubs in the NL Wild Card Series. Miami will travel to Wrigley Field for the series, which will automatically raise storylines from the 2003 National League Championship Series, which the Marlins won in seven games.

Who might be in the Wild Card Series rotation?
Since this is a best-of-three format, only three starters would be needed, with the other two perhaps heading to the bullpen. The Marlins could go in any direction they want in setting up the rotation. They will have rookie Sixto Sánchez as their most rested option. But Sánchez has struggled in his past two starts (allowing nine runs over seven innings), and Sandy Alcantara, their Opening Day starter, could get the Game 1 nod. The third likely possibility is Pablo López. In whatever order, those three appear to be the choices to start. If the Marlins decide to go with a left-hander, rookie Trevor Rogers is an option.