Despite having the best record in all of baseball in the month of May, the Miami Marlins have been having trouble scoring runs, which was evident in each of the three home games against the Braves, who swept the Marlins. The Marlins hadn't lost or tied a series since April when they split a four game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While the starting pitchers are still getting deep into games, they are not getting wins to show for it. The bottom of the order, featuring catcher John Buck, left fielder Chris Coghlan, and outfielder Bryan Petersen are all slumping. Manager Ozzie Guillen has given both Donovan Solano and Justin Ruggiano playing time, and they have taken advantage of it. Both have been consistent at the plate while proving to be weapons off the bench.
If the Marlins want to prevent another disastrous June, they will need to turn things around quickly. They host the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox at home, before traveling to Tampa and Boston to take on two American League East contenders.
-The Atlanta Braves completed a three game sweep of the Marlins on Thursday night, after defeating them 8-2. Mark Buehrle turned in a quality start, and Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes both homered for the Marlins, who struggled against the Braves pitching staff throughout the series.-Ozzie Guillen was impressed with the way Josh Johnson pitched throughout Wednesday night's 2-1 loss to the Braves. "Thats the first time I see him throw the ball like that in two or three months. I loved the way he threw the ball," Guillen said.
-Even though they were pursuing Yoesnis Cespedes during the offseason, multiple sources claim that the Marlins will not go after Jorge Soler, another Cuban slugger.
-Braves' pitcher Livan Hernandez, who helped the Marlins win their 1997 World Series title and followed with the classic line "I love you Miami!", says he still loves the city. "We converted this city," Hernandez said. "People love baseball more now because we won that year." Hernandez also added that Marlins Park is "perfect for the city and something that the fans deserve."
-Matt Kemp was recently named captain of the National League's Home Run Derby team, and said that one of the first two names that comes to his mind is Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton wasn't among the top 15 outfielders in the National League when the first set of All-Star voting results were released. "Hopefully I make it and it will take care of itself," Stanton said. "[The Derby] would be fun. It's something I watched growing up."
-Giancarlo Stanton was the National League's player of the month in May, after hitting a franchise record 12 home runs while batting .343 throughout the month.
-Following Thursday's game, the Marlins activated outfielder Austin Kearns from the disabled list and sent both Bryan Petersen and Dan Jennings to AAA New Orleans. Since that only leaves one lefty (Randy Choate) in the bullpen, the Marlins will likely call up Mike Dunn, who pitched well in several outings after the Marlins sent him down.
-Scott Cousins, who is commonly associated with ending catcher Buster Posey's season after a collision at home plate in San Francisco, is playing well in New Orleans, and may see some major league action if the Marlins continue to struggle scoring runs.
-Ricky Nolasco will pitch the first game of a three game series against the Rays on Friday night at Marlins Park. Nolasco has not been successful at home this year, as he has a 5.79 home ERA and opposing batters are hitting .304 against him in Miami.
-Justin Ruggiano and Donovan Solano both have been seeing time in the outfield when the Marlins face a left handed pitcher, and are taking advantage of their opportunities.
-Manager Ozzie Guillen wishes that the game of baseball today was more "hard-nosed". Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman slid into second base to prevent Jose Reyes from turning a double play on Wednesday. Reyes' throw hit Freeman in the hand, and the umpire called interference. "You throw inside, people get mad. You get hit, people get mad. The game has changed. But I think the umpire did a tremendous call because that’s the rule," Guillen said.
-Miami is 9-13 against teams in the National League East this year, a figure that needs to be better if the Marlins hope to stay in the race throughout the season.
Around The League
-After a 7-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Rays find themselves atop the American League East.
-Reds closer Aroldis Chapman gave up a run on Thursday, as the Pirates walked off with a 5-4 win. Chapman's ERA is still 0.30 after giving up an earned run.
-Mets pitcher R.A.Dickey, currently the only pitcher in baseball that throws a knuckleball, defeated the Washington Nationals and earned his ninth win of the season on Thursday.
-The Dodgers swept a four game series against the Phillies for the first time in the history of the franchise. Aaron Harang earned his 100th career win.
-Interleague play, which has some fans and some wishing to do away with it, begins this weekend, and has some key matchups, such as the well-known Subway series, and for the Marlins, the Citrus series.
At Fish Stripes
-The Marlins have had several key moments throughout their history. Here are a few.
-On June 8, 2010 Giancarlo Stanton, then Mike Stanton, collected his first major league hit off of Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay.
-Should the Marlins worry about protecting Stanton in the lineup? Morrison has typically been the guy to bat behind the slugger.