Miami Marlins: When the Fish turned the month around

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

After going 3-15 to start the month of May, something has changed with the Miami Marlins ball club. Winners of six of their last nine games, they’re playing with renewed confidence.

For those who sat up late at night, watching the Miami Marlins get pounded night after night, you faithfulness is being rewarded.

The Marlins were coming off a series in which they were swept against the red-hot Houston Astros. They were reeling, having failed to pick up series wins against the hapless Atlanta Braves earlier in the month. With a road trip against the Los Angeles Dodgers up next, things would get worse before they get better.

The Fish floundered in the first two games of the series, losing by five runs each time. Don Mattingly was infamously ejected for the third time in the month, and frustration appeared to have come to a head.

After Ross Stripling threw behind Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning, the benches cleared. No punches were thrown, but Mattingly appeared to be going after Dodgers manager Bob Geren. Mattingly was upset that the Dodgers were swinging at 3-0 pitches while ahead by five runs.

Whether you agree with Mattingly’s logic or not, it appears to have turned something in Marlins clubhouse. The head burst.

An imperceptible shift

To say that the dust up equated wins directly might draw a side-eye or two. But the team won their next game. The offense exploded for 10 runs that day, and the Marlins managed to avoid back-to-back sweeps.

They would go on to drop the final game of the Dodgers series, and split a two-game set with the Athletics. They returned home with more momentum then they’d had all month; 2-2 in their previous four games, and showing signs of life.

With Mike Trout and the Angels waiting for them in Miami, the Marlins took care of business. They managed to take two-of-three games. Each of their wins came without drama or fear of a late inning collapse. The team hit well, pitched well, fielded well, and the bullpen did its job.

The Fish have now taken the first two games of a three game series with the Phillies. If they are able to take a series sweep, they’ll close the month nine games below even. That’s not something to brag about, but with all things considered, it could have been much worse.

The Miami Marlins will enter the month of June with an opportunity to make a push before the All-Star break. If they are able to sustain the success, “fire sale” talks will disappear, and the Fish might even become buyers at the deadline.

For whatever reason, the team is playing differently since the altercation with the Dodgers.

Next: Jeb Bush no longer in the running for the Miami Marlins

There is a lot of season left to play. The Miami Marlins are proving they aren’t a team that belongs to be in the basement of the National League. Only time will tell if they deserve a playoff spot.