Miami Marlins: Things starting to break in favor of the Fish

Apr 23, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins players celebrate a 7-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Marlins players celebrate a 7-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s safe to say the Miami Marlins won’t be sad to see the month of May come to an end. After a horrific month, they look to carry momentum into June.

Things nearly came off of the rails for the Miami Marlins. The team isn’t out of the woodwork yet, but winners in three of their last five, there are signs of life. Consistency remains a concern, but more wins are always a good thing.

Much of the difficulty can be attributed to the wave of injuries that trashed the teams depth. Martin Prado, Miguel RojasAdeiny Hechavarria, Wei-Yin Chen, Junichi Tazawa, and Tom Koehler all sustained injuries this month. They remain on the disabled list, but are making progress towards a return. Jeff Locke, who was injured prior to the season’s start is expected to arrive soon as well.

Things are coming alive for the Fish on the offensive end. They’ve scored a total of 33 runs in their past five games, and have outscored opponnents by six runs in that time frame. Justin Bour continues to demolish opposing pitching. At this rate, he makes a strong case to be named player of the month in the National League.

The Miami Marlins are hoping one hand washes the other. While the offense has done its portion of the work, the pitching has been slower to come to life. Friday’s win over the Los Angeles Angels was an encouraging sign and the Fish are hoping for more of the same.

Players making progress towards a return

There remain question marks surrounding Wei-Yin Chen. The talented, but oft-injured left hander signed with the Marlins to be their number two. Injuries to his pitching arm appear as though they’ll keep him out of the mix indefinitely.

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Everyone else on the disable list is making tangible progress towards a return:

Miguel Rojas is out of his cast and ahead of schedule in his recovery. His injury is the most serious after breaking his thumb sliding into third base. He figures to return shortly after his 60-day DL stint is over. Doctors originally pegged him to be out beyond the All-Star break.

Martin Prado and Adeiny Hechavarria are dealing with a hamstring strain and an oblique strain, respectively. They will each be beginning rehab stints in the minor leagues before returning. Their rehab starts expected to begin in 10-14 days, they could be back with the Marlins when July rolls around.

Tom Koehler’s injury is considered minor, and he should be able to return once his time on the disabled list is over. He will likely be asked to make a few rehab starts. If he find success there, he could return to the ball club. If not, they Marlins may look to move him.

Tazawa is currently on the disabled list with rib cartilage inflammation. He too is expected to return after ending his stint on the 10-day disabled list. Tazawa has struggled this year, but a few rehab appearances might build his confidence and help him correct whatever the problem is.

If the Marlins are able to get these players back, playing as capably as they have in the past, they’ll be in business.

Blueprint victory

On Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels, the Miami Marlins got exactly the kind of win the team was engineered for. Pitcher Dan Straily pitched into the sixth inning, and the offense was potent enough to give him a lead when he left.

One of the Marlins biggest issues has been bullpen effectiveness. Last night, the pen held the lead it was handed, and Straily notched a deserved win. The offense continued to pour on after he left the game and the Fish went home with an 8-5 victory.

Eating 3.2 innings was what the front office built the bullpen to do. David Phelps recorded five outs in his return from the bereavement list. Nick Wittgren pitched a perfect eighth. Kyle Barraclough wobbled in the ninth, but the Angels never managed to get the tying run to the plate.

Closer A.J. Ramos recorded a one-pitch save after inducing a fly-ball out to Mike Trout.

This is the way the Miami Marlins will win games this season. Recording a win the way they did last night is an encouraging development for a team that has struggled to find its identity. If it continues, they might be able to position themselves favorably by the break.

Next: Jeff Locke nearing return to pitching staff

The Miami Marlins still face an uphill climb. But with a number of players on the way back from injury, and the team appearing to figure out how to win games, the tide could be turning. With four months of the season remaining, enough time exists to make things interesting.