Miami Marlins Week In Review: Looking ahead

USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins finish off their first half of the season with almost two months' worth of positive baseball. How will the Marlins fare in the second half?

On The Field

The Marlins played six games this week, divided up into two series of three games each.

The first series was against the Atlanta Braves. Miami was overwhelmed by Atlanta's booming bats. The first two games saw the Braves put up a combined 13 runs, winning both match-ups. The Marlins did end the series on a high note, taking the consolation prize of a 6-2 win to end the series.

After taking Thursday off, the Marlins kicked off a series against the Washington Nationals on Friday. Miami managed to hold Washington to three runs in the first game and one run in the second. The Marlins also posted ten combined runs in the same two games, leading to a three game winning streak. That streak would be short lived as the Nationals took the third game by a 5-2 margin, leaving the Marlins' record on the week at an even 3-3.

Fish Stripes Coverage

Braves, Game 1, July 8th

Braves, Game 2, July 9th

Braves, Game 3, July 10th

Nationals, Game 1, July 12th

Nationals, Game 2, July 13th

Nationals, Game 3, July 14th

Second Half Success?

The Marlins started the season off as a slumping collection of semi major leaguers. At least, that's how most of the national media saw them.

It started with Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante were both dealt to the Detroit Tigers at the halfway mark of 2012. Hanley Ramirez was shipped off, taking with him a utility belt's worth of talent to the Dodgers.

Then, Miami's front office decided to deal Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and others to the Toronto Blue Jays in the most infamous Marlins trade in team history.

All of this followed the Marlins' stressing that the "fire sale" conclusion was a bit rash of reporters. To their credit, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria did upgrade that alert to "we'll move in the direction we feel is best for the team and the organization."

When the 2013 season started, the Marlins had their shiny new stadium (on the dimes of taxpayers) and most Marlins fans couldn't recognize a single starter not named Giancarlo Stanton.

The season started off in predictably miserable fashion. The woes were plenty: the month of April saw the Marlins drop 19 games. Then, after losing Stanton to a hamstring injury on April 29th, May just got worse. By month's end, the Marlins had dropped 22 games in May, far and away the worst team in the division.

Then came June. With Stanton back in the line-up, the Marlins found themselves playing some much improved baseball. Miami would finish June winning 16 of their 26 games. Moving on to July, the Marlins won 15 of their 26 games before the all-star break.

Barring any set backs, the Marlins look set to slowly improve on their dismal start to 2013.

Though having a big bat like Stanton back in the lineup is huge for Miami, the Marlins have been boosted by the return of Nathan Eovaldi. The flame throwing righty is 2-0 on the season, sporting a sterling 2.93 ERA. Eovaldi's return was the final piece needed to complete a surprisingly effective trio of young arms. Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner, and Nathan Eovaldi are a combined 10-6 for the Marlins. Though Fernandez has been the Marlins' best strikeout pitcher (100 on the season), all three pitchers boast a combined 156 strikeouts to 69 walks. Additionally, all three sport sub-3.00 ERA's.

Also, Eovaldi has a stronger, deadlier fastball. Check out some analysis from our own Michael Jong.

What makes the Marlins' improved play in the June and July involves their everyday starters. With no real established threat in the order, Miami was left with a platoon at practically every position. Then, they found some diamonds in the rough.

All of a sudden, second base all but belongs to Devin Dietrich. Adienny Hechavarria is the Marlins' best bet at shortstop. Ed Lucas has shown, despite lacking a booming bat, he's as good choice as any at the hot corner. Marcel Ozuna forced his manager to slot him regularly in the outfield (prompting the Marlins' early season star, Justin Rugiano, to take a seat). And then there's the gun-slinging duo of Rob Brantly (Boom) and Jeff Mathis (Bang).

Going into the second half of their 2013 campaign, the Marlins form a picture of journeymen starters, framed by the arms of three very talented pitchers. If nothing else, it will be interesting.

Yelich Shows Out

The Futures Game featured some very bright futures indeed. One of those future talents was none other than the Marlins' Christian Yelich. The young slugger finished the game with two hits and an RBI, sending his first hit over the head of an outfielder. Here's a look at Yelich's afternoon.

Plays of the Week

-Stanton had two outfield assists on the season before Sunday. He had two assists in one game against the Nationals, including this ridiculous effort:

-Ed Lucas had a few nifty pieces of defense this week, this one was perhaps his most impressive.

-Then on a hitting streak, Marcel Ozuna laced a pitch into the gap to clear the bases and drive in three.

-Why are guys still running on Jeff Mathis?

-I can't quite decide what was more top play worthy here, Stanton's clutch homer or Fernandez's reaction:

Coming Up

The Marlins return from the All Star break on Friday, July 19th, to kick off a three game series against the Brewers.

Game 1 features a match up between starters Jacob Turner for Miami and Kyle Lohse for Milwaukee. Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez take the mound for the Marlins for the next two games. The series will be set in Milwaukee.

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