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Marlins Extra Innings: Do First Half Struggles Signal Deeper Problems for Miami?

Entering 2021, some thought that last season's success would be so easy to duplicate - and then, the season started

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Less than one calendar year ago, the Miami Marlins were one of the team cheering about the success of the 2020 season that ended with the franchise's third ever postseason appearance.

Yes, that was a postseason spot that came after a 31-29 record during a condensed scheduled thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and an expanded playoffs - but the postseason is still something to brag about.

Entering 2021, some thought that last season's success would be so easy to duplicate - and then, the season started.

After the first half of the season, Miami sits with a record of 39-50 - which is good enough for last place in the National League East and quite an uphill climb to get out of the cellar.

At this rate, you can almost forget a fourth ever appearance in the postseason for the Fish and come to realization this team could be closer to the 22nd losing campaign in the 29 seasons the franchise has existed.

In the interest of fairness, let us give the Marlins some credit. It's not as if they are being blown out in their losses this season - with 32 of them coming by two runs or less.

But, in the last month of the season, Miami has limped to a 12-15 that would have been worse if not for three wins in four games against the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Those victories over the Dodgers were the only ones over a team with a winning record the Marlins have over that span.

Fans of the Fish have never seen the team make it to the postseason in back-to-back years. While many were hoping for more of a 2004 repeat (a winning record after the 2003 World Series title), the team is looking more like the 1998 edition that finished 54-108 after winning the crown one year before.

With a second half schedule that includes 11 games against the NL East leading New York Mets and contests against teams like the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays - all clubs with winning records at the All-Star break - it could get real ugly, real quick.

On the surface, it would seem like their is no 'quick fix' at this point and the Marlins have already tied themselves to manager Don Mattingly for at least one more season - so what's next?

Does Miami become sellers before the trade deadline on July 31st and admit this season is over, moving names like Miguel Rojas and Jesus Aguilar among others?

Do the Marlins still hold out hope and see how the first week of the season's second half turns out, with seven games combined against divisional rivals Philadelphia and Washington?

With a powerful ownership group including Baseball Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter, Miami has to do something quickly before they lose the South Florida sports market once again.

The Marlins made the power move bringing in Kim Ng as the first female general manager in professional sports - now, they need to figure out a way to keep the team from looking like a failure in the eyes of some fans.

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