SAN DIEGO -- The headline at Yahoo! Sports reads "Surprise, Surprise: Marlins are in first place." Over at Fox Sports.com, it's "Are the Marlins and Rockies Really This Good?" And at SI.com, it's "Can Surprise Miami Marlins Make Their Early-Season Success Last?"
Everyone, it seems, is wondering the same thing. And for good reason. Vegas picked the Marlins to win no more than 69 or 70 games and already they've won 20 with 127 games to go. Many baseball experts thought the Marlins could finish ahead of the Phillies and Mets. But first place on May 9?
The Marlins have a lot of folks scratching their heads.
Manager Mike Redmond said he hasn't looked at the standings.
"They're talking about the Fish, so that's good stuff, right?," Redmond asked. "At the beginning of the year, nobody was talking about us. So we've opened some eyes, and that's a testament to these guys and the way they've played."
Redmond said he still feels like the Marlins "are still improving in a lot of areas."
But he also feels, no matter what the doubters might think, the Marlins are capable of winning now.
"I think this team has a chance to be special. How special? That's to be determined," Redmond said. "I think we have a lot of guys who have a lot to prove."
SAN DIEGO -- Not sure how many of you back home managed to remain awake to catch the ending, but Giancarlo Stanton put the exclamation point on another Marlins victory last night with a shot to right center in the 11th (see story here).
It was the kind of homer that had folks on both sides marveling afterward. Like Padres catcher and University of Miami product Yasmani Grandal for instance. Grandal was behind the plate when Stanton put his barrell on a Dale Thayer 0-2 fastball.
Unlike many of his other blasts, Stanton's dinger on Thursday wasn't a no-doubter. Stanton said it wasn't even a home run swing. Rather it was an "easy swing" (his words) that produced positive results. After being made to look "silly" on the previous pitch, an elevated fastball that Stanton swung at and missed, he figured Thayer would come back with another pitch just like it, or an 0-2 offering in the dirt. He got the former.
And here's what Grandal had to say about it:
“That’s probably the best pitch (Thayer) threw,” Grandal said. “He painted it. It was right on the spot. But there’s only one guy that can hit that, and he was at the plate. I guarantee you there’s not another player in this league who could hit that pitch.”
If you haven't seen it already, take a look for yourself: