In the most pivotal position of the season, the Miami Marlins may be without their biggest star.
With a doubleheader slated on Wednesday night against the New York Mets, and the Marlins on the outside looking in at the National League Wild-Card race, All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez is in limbo.
The league’s top hitter is nursing an ankle injury. He was seen at Citi Field wearing a walking boot on Tuesday, and before Miami’s game vs. the Mets was postponed, he was not listed in the lineup.
“It feels sore. It’s not 100%,” he said last week. “I’m human.”
Last week, against the Mets, Arraez, 26, notched his 200th hit of the season, becoming the fourth Marlin in franchise history to reach the milestone. In addition, he became the second Major Leaguer to do so this season, joining Atlanta Braves All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.
“Two hundred is a lot for everybody. It’s hard to hit in the big leagues, but I did it,” Arraez said. “I worked hard for that.”
Arraez is part of a Marlins ballclub that sits at 81-75, just a half-game back of the second and third wild-card spots that are currently occupied by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs, respectively. Wednesday’s doubleheader could go a long way toward defining Miami’s postseason future.
Last Tuesday, Arraez sprained his ankle during pregame warmups, accidentally stepping on a baseball in the infield. Yet, he still owns a .353 batting average, and will win the NL’s hitting title this season for the first time. He won the AL title last year with the Minnesota Twins.
“I don’t think I have been a part of a 200-hit year, so it’s pretty special,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said last week. “You don’t see it too often, especially in today’s game. And I don’t think he is done either. He has been phenomenal.”
The infielder also has a WAR (wins above replacement) of 3.5, the highest it has ever been in his career. His total jumped four points from a 3.1 WAR in his 2022 campaign while in Minnesota.
“I think he will have a couple of these in his career,” Schumaker said of the batting titles, adding that his injury is something that is rare for the second baseman. “He has stayed healthy the whole year, which has been a part of it as well.”
The MLB postseason, with or without the Marlins, will begin next week. Miami hasn’t made the playoffs since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.