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What I Learned – MLB postseason: Miami Marlins make playoffs for first time since 2003

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For just the third time in their 28-year existence, the Miami Marlins are heading to the postseason.The Marlins clinched a playoff spot on Friday by beating the Yankees, 5-4, in 10 innings. Miami got a strong start by Sandy Alcantara but couldn’t protect its lead in the eighth inning. The Marlins took the lead in the 10th on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar, then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 10th when DJ LeMahieu hit into a double play.Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsThe win pushed the Marlins’ record to 30-28, quite a turnaround after the team lost 105 games in 2019. The win ensures that the franchise will snap a streak of 10 consecutive losing seasons, an accomplishment even more extraordinary given that over half of the roster contracted COVID-19 near the beginning of the season. The Marlins have made the playoffs two times in franchise history (1997 and 2003), winning the World Series each year. The team beat the Indians in seven games in 1997, then defeated the Yankees in six in 2003. This is just the seventh time the Marlins have finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better.Miami’s surprise resurgence this season has been spurred by a group effort, including some bargain-bin veterans and young players who may not have made their MLB debuts this year if so many players hadn’t been infected by the coronavirus. But the ragtag group held down the fort in time for the roster to return to full strength.Offensively, Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas have led the charge, with strong performances by Aguilar, Jon Berti and Garrett Cooper. The pitching staff has leaned on several youngsters, including Alcantara, Pablo Lopez and Sixto Sanchez.The Marlins are the fifth National League team to secure a postseason spot, joining the Dodgers, Cubs, Braves and Padres.

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