Surprising Marlins are suddenly winning games versus quality opponents

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MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28: Martin Prado #14 of the Miami Marlins doubles in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 28, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 28: Martin Prado #14 of the Miami Marlins doubles in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 28, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins have won two straight series, are on their way to win a third and have won five of their past six games. What has changed now since the beginning of the season?

Offense, Offense, Offense

The Marlins offense is currently averaging 4.33 runs per game over their past six games. Over the previous 22 games Miami only managed 3.18 runs per game, over a full run less than this current stretch. This lower run output led the Marlins to a 5-17 record. Miami is now 5-1 over their past six games including winning the series opener against the Phillies Monday.

Marlins
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 29: J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins rounds third base in the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have been the most dependable hitters over this span. The duo have combined for a .372 batting average over the past six games and are responsible for driving in seven of the Marlins 26 runs during that span. Realmuto and Castro have also scored eight runs over the past six games.

Add to this the reemergence of Brian Anderson‘s bat, with four RBI in last night’s victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Martin Prado also has returned for Miami and is providing modest production for the club. Currently batting .250 with two RBI’s and one run scored. While Prado will not jump off the page with his numbers his moderate batting average and power will help stabilize a lineup that was heavily dependent on utility players playing at multiple positions to start the season.

The obvious difference for Miami is the presence of Realmuto. Realmuto missed just over two weeks to start the season and since his return has been the heart of the Miami offense. Castro’s consistent bat plus the return of Realmuto have allowed Miami to have an improved offense as of late.

Improved pitching paying dividends

Miami’s pitching staff has also been much improved other the past six games, only allowing an average of 2.6 runs per game. During the previous 22 games Miami’s pitching staff allowed an astounding 5.86 runs per game. Of course this includes allowing 10 or more runs four times, including 20 in a loss to Philadelphia earlier this season.

The stretch of good pitching started with Dillon Peters‘ start against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Peters went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. Peters’ performance helped propel the Marlins to a 3-2 victory.

Marlins
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 28: Wei-Yin Chen #54 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on April 28, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

Miami got a boost to their pitching staff this past weekend with the return of Wei-Yin Chen. This was Chen’s first start in nearly a year and he did not disappoint. Chen shut down the Rockies, pitching 5 1/3 innings and allowing one run on four hits while striking out three. Miami won the game by a score of 4-1.

The final notable pitching performance from the past week is that of Caleb Smith. Smith pitched seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out nine. Miami defeated Colorado by a score of 4-0. This was Smith’s second consecutive start with a good performance. Smith has struck out 19 batters over 13 innings while allowing only four hits and two runs. Smith certainly appears to be rounding into form and could help the Marlins staff moving forward.

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What is next for the Marlins?

As previously mentioned Miami defeated Philadelphia in the first game of a three game series on Monday. The Marlins have a chance to take yet another series by winning one of their next two against the Phillies. On Friday Miami travels to Cincinnati to take on a Reds team that is surging in a similar manner. By the look of things it is certainly possible that the Marlins could end up winning four straight series. That is provided Miami wins one more against Philadelphia and takes two of three from Cincinnati. As crazy as it sounds the Marlins look like they are figuring things out and may not be the pushover they appeared to be at the start of the season.

Next: Grading the Fish vs the Rockies

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