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How Long Can Marlins Keep This Up?

    Last night's win improved the Marlins to 11-6 and left them a half-game between the first-place Phillies in the National League East. They have the fourth-best overall record in the majors. That's impressive considering:

    -- Hanley Ramirez hasn't done much of anything with his bat. He's hitting .222 and has only four extra-base hits, all doubles.

    -- Josh Johnson has been fantastic and Ricky Nolasco has been solid. But the other three starters -- Anibal Sanchez, Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad -- have ERA's of 5.51, 7.43 and 6.60, respectively.

    -- Though they snapped out of their power funk with three home runs last night, two came off the bats of reserves Scott Cousins and Brett Hayes. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, whose Rockies invade South Florida this weekend, has hit only four fewer home runs (7) than the entire Marlins team.

    -- Logan Morrison -- their top hitter so far -- is now on the disabled list and won't return for two to four weeks.

    -- Other than their two games with the Phillies, the Marlins have not played an opponent that currently boasts a winning record. The Rockies should provide an early litmus test. They bring the majors' best record to Sun Life Stadium for a three-game series that starts tonight.

    So what's your take on the Marlins? Are they fact or fiction? And, if you're not entirely sold on them, what would you like to see the front office do to increase your confidence level?

Comments

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Glags

I know they said pitching and defense would be theme but the offense and bullpen have been their strength. As it goes in baseball every prediction is based on track record and most of these don't really have one.(e.g. Stanton, Cousins, Gabby, Lomo, Murphy, Cogz. I would also add Buck because other than last year his track record is nothing to brag about) I can only hope they are fact but as you said they really haven't been tested.

Wild Bill

My take on you, Clark, is that you are happy doing half a job -- critiquing offense. The Marlins were the fifth worst fielding team in the majors last year. Hanley has four errors, Buck has two, nobody else has more than one. Infante has yet to commit an error. Defense wins ballgames. So does middle relief. The Marlins pumped up both areas in the offseason. You should have mentioned that in your column.

Glags

On the other hand it seems that when someone has gone down someone else has stepped up. I think Stanton said it best when he pointed out that they're winning games without a lot of production out of the 2,3 and 4 hitters. It IS scary to think what this line up can do offensively when these guys get on track. We'll have to wait and see if they do.

esteban0321

As far as I'm concerned this is the best and most complete team the fish have fielded since 2003. I believe they are still getting better. They are young but these guys were all highly touted prospects and what they are doing is what has been expected of them. If there is one thing I wish the team had done to ensure a playoff birth is if they had found a way to acquire Michael Young or get a similar 3b later in the season. Even without it I still think they have their best chance at the playoffs in years.

pumpsie green

Way to early to tell if Marlins are contenders or pretenders..Wait until to 47 game mark on June 1st to evaluate team needs..Pitchers need to average 6 inning starts at this point so the pen isn't overused to early in season..Have to stay on plus side of 1 run games at this point in season to be contenders in Sept...

jborgnine

The Marlins have a much improved team from last year in all aspects. I think you should have mentioned Infantes slow start at the plate. The guy hit .320 last season if he can hit just around .300 in that 2 spot I think we will see many more runs on the board. We need a power bat in this lineup, preferably at 3B and if they keep playing the way they are I think management will grant them that. I also think Vasquez is going to turn it around and end up with a decent record.

DC Marlin

Giving Hanley that big contract was a mistake.

brg611

Yes DC but Gloria is in love with Hanley

paolo

if the defense can get it together... this team will be a force.

joe lamas

who cares who they beat and what their record is. they are winning the games they have to win. if they lose to losers then they too are losers.

Botas

The most exiting Marlins team since they last won the World Series. And, leave Hanley alone, he is the franchise.

Glags

No. JJ is the franchise. Hanley's attitude sucks. Although I will give him credit. Yesterday he went to the mound to talk to Anibal after Gabby made an error and calmed him down. I hope he realizes that he can be a leader even if he's not performing well. Then he will be a franchise guy. Right now he's just another struggling player.

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