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The Guns of August -- Marlins vs. Rockies

          Remarkable what the Marlins have accomplished at the plate this month. They're the hottest-hitting, highest-scoring team in the majors for August. Their current 10-game streak of having at least 10  hits is not only the longest such run in the majors this season, but is an all-time club record -- by a LOT. The previous record for collecting 10 or more hits by a Marlins team was only six straight games. And while the acquisition of Nick Johnson has certainly been a boon to the lineup, keep in mind that he didn't start two of the games during the streak, including last night's 9-2 win over the Astros.

          Take a look at how individual Marlins have hit this month:

          John Baker (.353), Emilio Bonifacio (.364), Jorge Cantu (.196), Chris Coghlan (.436); Ross Gload (.167); Wes Helms (.214); Jeremy Hermida (.273); Nick Johnson (.306); Ronny Paulino (.353); Hanley Ramirez (.412); Cody Ross (.286); Dan Uggla (.350).

          The Marlins are hitting .315 as a team this month, which is a far cry from the .235 figure they put up last August when they dropped out of the race by going 11-17. The best hitting month ever by a Marlins team was in July, 2005, when that bunch hit .297.

          Alas, the Marlins are only 7-5 for the month. The problem, of course, has been their pitching. The starters aren't going deep into games, the bullpen has been overused, and there are major question marks revolving around the back end of the rotation, specifically whether a 4-5 tandem of Sean West and Rick VandenHurk can get it done in a heated stretch run.

         Now come the Rockies, who lead the wild card race. The Rockies represent a major challenge for the Marlins' shaky staff. While the Marlins have been lights out at the plate this month, the Rockies are at their hip with an identical .315 average for August.

          Keep those scorecard pencils sharp this weekend.

          -- Cody Ross left last night's game with back spasms but I didn't detect any great concern and, assuming the tremors subside, expect to see him in the lineup tonight.

          -- Kind of thought when they optioned Chris Leroux back to Double A after last night's game they would try to balance the roster by replacing him with a position player. That isn't going to be the case, apparently. The Marlins remain concerned with their pitching staff and are expected to bring up another hurler (Cristhian Martinez?) to provide long relief protection.

          -- Hearing that Cameron Maybin is about ready to return to the New Orleans lineup, perhaps tonight. But you can pretty much figure at this point that the Marlins don't intend to bring him up until Sept. 1 when rosters can be expanded.

           By the way, which players would you like to see added in September, now that we're getting a little closer? Keep in mind, the Marlins usually don't call up more than five or six players. My guess is you'll see (if one or more isn't here already) Maybin, Brett Carroll, Gaby Sanchez and Tim Wood. Anyone else, such as Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison?  





're the two hottest hitting teams in the majors -- and highest-scoring in the NL -- this month. --- .315 averages....marlins have scored 80 runs, the rockies 75....