Patience For The Miami Marlins May Be Paying Off

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 05: Martin Prado #14 of the Miami Marlins celebrates a three run home with Corbin Maybin #1 in the second inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 05: Martin Prado #14 of the Miami Marlins celebrates a three run home with Corbin Maybin #1 in the second inning during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins are writing another chapter in their short history in Major League Baseball. The title should read “Looks are Deceiving.”

If you look solely at the team’s record, 39-56 in the first half of the season, there is a reason for concern as front office decisions over the offseason has all but torn down a core of Miami Marlins that was good but lacked the pitching support to be great.

New ownership and management made sure the changes to the roster and minor league system would include front-line pitching prospects and a commitment to building rosters that were balanced. The moves are starting to pay off.

The Marlins 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night continued to show this is a roster of players who have grit. It also may prove my point this team could continue its rise in the National League East in the second half of the season.

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This is a team that was able to come from behind and win. It was a team that beat a division leader. It was a team that won without its best player, J.T. Realmuto, in the line-up the past three nights. It’s a team that is hitting the ball a lot better of late.

This isn’t a “quick fix” or a short-term solution. Owner Derek Jeter preaches this almost every day. Michael Hill, the president of baseball operations for this franchise, has said this organization will do what is best to make this a better ball club.

I’m starting to believe the hype. Not because I am taking the approach of there is nothing else to do. I am buying in because I see progress. I’m used to watching losing sports teams. The Jaguars were perennial losers until last season. I am a Knicks fan. That is self-explanatory. I root for the Marlins because of my home roots.

I see change on the horizon.

“You feel like this team has gained an identity of how we play, or how we need to play to win games,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said following the win on Wednesday night via MLB.com. “That’s really to do what we’ve been doing. That’s getting our hits. Moving runners. Trying to get ’em in. We’re trying to be aggressive on the bases, and we’re pitching pretty good. This is our game.”

He was spot on.

Unsung heroes like Derek Dietrich and Garret Cooper are showing up each game. Rookies are taking on bigger roles like Brian Anderson and Drew Steckenrider. This isn’t the Miami Marlins of the past seven seasons, but its a Marlins team we have come to know as a gritty roster of players.

Second baseman Starlin Castro, who has had one of the best stretches hitting the ball in his career, summed up the series win over Milwaukee and what he sees in this team.

“They have a really good team,” Castro said. “They can hit. They have an amazing bullpen, probably the best that we’ve seen after the Yankees. We battled. We put together a lot of good at-bats. We’re fighting.”

There is no reason to think the growth will stop after the All-Star break. Fans can deal with losing if there is a fighting spirit amongst the players. That’s evident. Dan Straily has given this team four straight quality starts. Kyle Barraclough has been dominant in the bullpen.

Next: Miami Marlins: Three Players to Watch in the second half of 2018

This is a team built for the future.  Jeter is showing he knew what he was talking about. The patience he asked for from the fan base is paying off. Now, if this team starts to string together more wins than losses in the second half of 2018, this could be hailed as a successful season – despite a losing record.

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