The tide appears to be turning in Miami. After one of the worst months in franchise history, the team is looking to end with a flourish.
There is no way to sugar coat how poorly the Miami Marlins played through the month of May. After dropping three-of-four to an average Tampa Bay Rays team, the tone was set for the rest of the month.
What followed was an absolute train-wreck. At the height of panic, there was rampant speculation that the team would be tearing down and starting to rebuild. At its best, the Miami Marlins were unloveable losers. They are looking to change the narrative as the month closes.
The Fish are still only 7-17 in the month of May. After dropping series after series, the team sits 12 games below even. They aren’t in the basement of the National League, but they aren’t in a cozy penthouse either. They’re akin to being in the boiler room; near the basement, but not technically the basement.
After closing up their first series win of the month against the Angels, things appear to be ticking upwards. The Fish are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The offense is coming alive. The starting pitching appears to be improving. Perhaps most importantly, the bullpen is finding its groove.
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Sunday afternoon was the most complete victory the Miami Marlins have had in some time. Trailing 2-1 briefly in the game, a multiple runs in the fifth, sixth, and eighth inning busted the game open. The result was never in doubt from then on.
Jose Urena continued to pitch well. Despite walking a career high six batters, he limited the Angels to only two runs, both earned. That’s all they got the rest of the day. The bullpen pitched four innings and allowed only one hit.
Phillies series is a must win
It’s only May, but the Phillies series is as important as the Miami Marlins have had all season. The Philadelphia ball club is struggling, and provides the Marlins a sweep opportunity. If the Fish can take all three against the Phillies, they finish with a .370 winning percentage for the month. Not great, but good enough to keep them hovering in the periphery.
The team is playing according to plan recently. The potent lineup everyone expected to see is producing. Dee Gordon is hitting better. Giancarlo Stanton has been jumpstarted in the two-hole. The continuing emergence of J.T. Riddle at shortstop is encouraging.
The starting pitching is giving the ball to the bullpen in the sixth inning. Marlins pitchers have managed to pitch at least five innings in the last five games. That keeps the bullpen fresh, and provides the best opportunity for them to find success.
Playoff teams win the games they are supposed to win. If the Miami Marlins are still harboring hopes of a wildcard appearance, that’s what they need to do. There is a struggling ball club landing in Miami shortly; dominate them and gear up for June.