The Miami Marlins will kick off the 2015 season at home versus the Atlanta Braves in a three-game series, from April 6-9. The two franchises are on opposite ends of the spectrum right now, the Marlins are exiting their most recent rebuild and looking to contend, while the Braves are headed for a (preferably short) down cycle.
Let’s rewind to 2012, the last time the Marlins felt this optimistic about a season. A slow start in April crushed the teams chances, mostly because it tested Jeffrey Loria’s patience, which clearly he doesn’t have much of considering the team was torn apart a few months later. Now, those trade deadline fears have dissipated, as the front office has again promised a sustainable model of success.
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Still, this team will undoubtedly need to get things going quickly in 2015, and gain separation from the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies in a hurry. Following that opening series with Atlanta, Miami will host the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game set before heading to Atlanta for round two. Next up are the New York Mets at Citi Field, then they’ll finish up the road trip with three in Philadelphia. The end of the month will bring the heavyweight Washington Nationals to town, and once they tap out the Mets will hop in for a three-game set at Marlins Park.
It’s going to be a busy month in division play for the Marlins, an area in which they struggled in 2014, especially on the road. Gaining those division wins will be essential for this young squad’s confidence, not to mention set a strong foundation for Jose Fernandez to build upon when he returns. Offense could be hard to come by, as the Braves, Mets, and Nationals all boast tremendously talented pitching staffs. It won’t be an easy go, but if they come out of it at .500 or above they’ll be in good shape.
Yes, the Marlins’ season is 162 games, only 22 of which will be played in April. However, early deficits in the division standings can be hard to overcome, especially when the competition for NL Wild Card spots looks to be heated in 2015. If Giancarlo Stanton and the pitching staff can keep this team afloat until the All-Star Break, the stage will be set for an October run with Fernandez.
April could very well be a do-or-die month for the Fish.
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