Editor's Note: This was earmarked for yesterday, but I was unable to publish it in a timely fashion. Please enjoy it today. -MJ
Today the Marlins will visit the Cincinnati Reds in what is their first non-divisional game of 2013. The Miami Marlins currently sit at 3-12 with the worst record in baseball after their first five series when they faced every team in the NL East at least once and the Washington Nationals twice. Also Adeiny Hechevarria, the Marlin's rookie shortstop, is now out due to an elbow injury. This comes of no service the the Marlins, who are struggling in practically every aspect of the game. Obviously the season has not started out in an ideal fashion, but that does not mean the Marlins will not improve.
As the season wears on, the Miami Marlins have the potential to get much better. Players like Nathan Eovaldi, Hernderson Alverez and Logan Morrision are getting closer to being back on the field. Plus, these players are players that will likely have an influence on the future of the franchise. While Wade LeBlanc, Kevin Slowey and whoever is currently playing first base for the Marlins (Joe Mahoney perhaps) might have some productive games there is little chance that any of them will offer more than a stopgap at their position. As I mentioned, as the season goes on the Marlins should improve thanks to simple passage of time.
Another player, currently out, Giancarlo Stanton looks to return tonight against the Reds. I hate to say that he is "due" for some production with the bat, but Giancarlo Stanton's regression to career numbers is as close to a guarantee that you can get in professional sports. As the Marlins get further from their brutal 3-12 start, the Marlins will be a better team.
That said, the Marlins are not expecting any sort of huge breakthrough and to contend for the division title. The 2013 Miami Marlins should be watched with no such expectations. The Marlins may not post a winning record during any given month. The Marlins should, however, expect some improvement. No team with any amount of talent at all should finish the season 3-12, which extrapolates to about 32-130 on the season. The Marlins may not have yet shown their talent, and there is not much of it, but there is some promise of mediocre baseball this season.
For now, the Marlins move on to games outside their own division and actually face their first inter-league opponent, the Minnesota Twins, in the next week. When you really look at it, the Marlins have only played four different teams, two of which (Braves and Nationals) are expected to be World Series contenders and some may argue they are the most complete teams in baseball. The Marlins have faced strong competition with what is a sub-optimal roster so far in 2012. The Hechevarria injury threatens to lower the Marlins talent level even further temporarily. While the 3-12 start is hardly what the Marlins wanted, and it is hardly what anyone could have expected, the season has also hardly been played. The next few weeks should seem some Marlins returning from injury and some players ending their (thus far) season spanning slumps, that, in of itself should help the Marlins win more games.