April 15, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (center) talks with catcher John Buck (right) during the game against the Houston Astros at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins A .500 Team - For Now

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The Miami Marlins are what their record says they are. A .500 team so far, and maybe a little better than that the rest of the way. Big improvements over last year, but maybe another year away from serious contention for a World Series championship.

After beginning the season 2-5, the Marlins rebounded with a 5-1 stretch at home to climb above .500 before friday’s loss to the Washington Nationals. Definitely a nice string of exciting victories, and something that was needed in the first home stand in Marlins Park.

 

The Miami Marlins will need Stanton to start producing if they want to be contenders. (Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE)

 

Of course, this home stand was built on the early season also-rans known as the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. (The Cubs and Astros have combined for a 8-20) record thus far. The Marlins face the hot Nationals this weekend, followed by series with the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants. The Nats, Diamondbacks, and Giants ought to provide a better litmus test for where the Marlins really stand at this point in the season.

I’m not all about the lowered expectations, however. Despite a difficult start offensively in the first couple of games, the Marlins rank #6 in the National League in runs scored. Similarly, the Miami pitching staff also ranks #6 in the NL in ERA on the young season. Miami is tied with the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies to lead the league with nine quality starts from the pitching staff.

If Giancarlo Stanton starts hitting, and Josh Johnson returns to pitching form, there is reason to believe the Marlins may generate a few more wins that might have been slipping away this season. You have to figure Heath Bell won’t be blowing a save opportunity a week the rest of the way, either.

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Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Giancarlo Stanton Heath Bell Houston Astros Josh Johnson Miami Marlins Philadelphia Phillies San Francisco Giants Washington Nationals. Chicago Cubs

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