Miami Marlins Secure First Winning Month of 2013
Going through May, the Miami Marlins 2013 season had been going as many experts expected – quite poorly. In fact, the season for the Fish was on pace to become historically bad. After some moves made both during last season and in the off-season, the Marlins were left with a lot of youth and question marks along with a new, inexperienced manager. After going through April and May to combine for a 14-41 record, and knowing what the last two June’s brought to the team, Marlin fans were fearing the worst.
However, June started off with a mix of some of the same and some new. They won the first two games in the middle of a sweep of the New York Mets, but then were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies. Following that, though, came another sweep of the Mets in a rain-shortened yet lengthy two game series that was originally meant to be three games. Those two games combined for 30 innings (20 and 10), with the Marlins narrowly edging out the Mets.
Since that last game against the Mets, which occurred on June 9th, the Marlins have gone 9-6, and in that span, they’ve taken a series from the NL Central leaders St. Louis Cardinals (2 of 3) and the San Francisco Giants (3 of 4). They also played a hard-fought series against the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks, losing two of three but only being outscored 8-5 in the three games. Their most recent games, a two game set against the Minnesota Twins, turned into a quick sweep for the Fish, and secured their winning month, currently sitting at 13-9 for June with three games left in the month.
Incidentally, these games (since June 9th) have been played by the Marlins for the first time this season with both Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison in the lineup at the same time. Since Morrison’s return from injury, he’s batted .302 with a homer and four runs batted in, with an OPS over .825. Stanton, in that time, has batted .305 with four home runs, 11 driven in, and an OPS that sits at .936 over those 15 games. With Stanton’s return, Marcell Ozuna has been playing in center field to make room for Stanton to return to right. Ozuna had hit a bit of a slump, going 2-31 over the first eight games of this run, but has picked it back up in the latter half, hitting .346 with eight runs driven in.
Overall, the Marlins offense has improved in June, hitting .256 as a team [way up from .224 in April and .217 in May], and they’re hitting marginally better with runners in scoring position (.243 so far in June). They’ve been getting contributions up and down the line-up, with players such as Ozuna, Stanton, Morrison, Justin Ruggiano, Ed Lucas, and others coming up big at the plate. One player of note has been struggling, and that has been second baseman Derek Dietrich. Since Stanton and Morrison’s return, Dietrich has hit just .122 with an OPS of .541. He has hit a couple of home runs in that span, however, both coming in close victories.
In June, the Marlins overall pitching has improved. While the starting pitchers have remained consistent and solid (4.05 ERA on the month, and the year), the bullpen has been very impressive, combining for an ERA of 2.65 over 78 innings. Over their last 10 games, the Marlins have allowed a combined 23 runs while scoring 38 themselves. In that span, they haven’t allowed more than three in a game, and are 7-3 in those games.
With the bullpen’s improvement over the month, the team’s ERA during June is at a strong 3.53 with a team WHIP of 1.230. It’s also dropped the team’s ERA for the year down to 3.93. With the Fish getting strong starts from pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner, and the returning Nathan Eovaldi, combined with the relief help, this team looks like it could make a possible turnaround this season and avoid a historically bad season, as well as taking themselves out of the slot that sits with the worst record in baseball. They’re also looking as if they may be able to avoid a franchise worst season, if they can keep this up.
With the Marlins 13 wins this June, they have tied the combined win total from the 2011 (5) and 2012 (8) Junes. With three games to go in the month, which are the first three games of a four game “wrap-around” series with the San Diego Padres, the Fish have a decent chance to not only surpass the last two combined June months, but more than double their win total for the season, as they came in to June with 14 wins. The Marlins franchise record for wins in June came in 2006, when they went 18-7 in a season that started similar to this one. They won’t be able to match that, but they can tie for the third best win total in the month with 16 if they can take at least the first three from San Diego.
In other Marlins news, starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez pitched in his third rehab start the other day, pitching 6.2 shutout innings while striking out 6 and walking none while allowing three hits. Alvarez also supported himself at the plate, launching a three run homer in a 2-3 day at the plate. He will make his final rehab start on Friday the 28th and be called up, barring any setbacks.
Outfield prospect Christian Yelich remains on the Minor League disabled list, but is now playing rehab games in the Gulf Coast League. Another outfield prospect, Jake Marisnick, continues to hit well, showing some power (now with nine home runs) and hitting .285, and may receive a call-up sooner than expected. He missed some games recently after being hit in his hand by a pitch, which was the same hand that was broken earlier in the year, but returned without missing a beat.
Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco may be gone as soon as the afternoon of this being written, as he has been mentioned as being sought after by the Baltimore Orioles, and every team in the NL West. The Marlins, in a surprising move, have mentioned that they are willing to eat part of Nolasco’s salary, if it means they can get a better return in a deal. Nolasco is scheduled to start for the Marlins on Friday, but that may change within a few hours.