The Marlins start the second half of the season today feeling as good about themselves as they have in a very long time despite a 30-51 record, which is a half game better than Houston, who has the worst record in the majors. Miami, though, had the third best record in baseball in June and started July with a 4-0 win Monday. "Different team, different attitude, different everything," manager Mike Redmond said. "Our first two months with 11, 12 guys on the DL, that was rough. So now to get everyone back, especially the pitching with (Henderson) Alvarez coming, this is the team we originally thought we’d have coming out of spring training.
Marlins fans — the most admirably resilient of them who still allow themselves to believe and to dream, despite it all — had a particularly hopeful night here Monday, after a hopeful month. Pitcher Jose Fernandez, 20, a baby, offered more cause to see him as a legitimate No. 1 starter, maybe a big star. At an age when most young arms are toiling in the low minors, he was striking out 10 Padres in a masterful eight-inning, two-hit, shutout performance. His biggest challenge was trying to avoid manager Mike Redmond after eight innings in hopes of wrangling a complete game.
The standings don't lie. For the first time since May 15, the Marlins don't have the worst record in the majors. The Houston Astros sunk back to the bottom of the 30-team slag heap on Monday when they lost and the Marlins won.
Donovan Solano was back in the Marlins clubhouse Tuesday after being recalled from NOLA. Solano was on the DL from May 7-June 9 and brought back after the team optioned OF Jordan Brown following Monday night's win against the Padres.
Look around and notice a new golden age dawning in Miami-area professional sports. I’m not sure if our Big Four teams collectively have ever had more talented players under 25. That cutoff is arbitrary, of course. Heck, to me even Juwan Howard is young, but I figure in pro sports under 25 is that budding time when potential greatness has begun to offer hints and all we can do is wait, tantalized, to see how it plays out. Sort of like looking up and waiting for the fireworks to bloom, right?
It's been a homecoming of sorts this week for Marlins rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich, who attended Georgia Tech. Dietrich played his college ball in downtown Atlanta, about 10 minutes away from Turner Field. While in school, he occasionally attended Braves games, where he watched players like Brian McCann. During an at-bat on Tuesday night, Dietrich talked briefly with McCann.
The Marlins on Wednesday removed Miguel Olivo from the restricted list and designated the veteran catcher for assignment. Miami placed Olivo on the restricted list on June 15 after the backup catcher walked out on the team prior to a game against the Cardinals the previous day. On the restricted list, the Marlins were not paying Olivo.
The collision looked worse than it was, which is fortunate for Logan Morrison and Kris Medlen. Morrison and Medlen hooked up in a nasty spill at first base in the third inning on Tuesday night at Turner Field. Medlen, the Braves pitcher, dropped down a bunt that was fielded by third baseman Placido Polanco. The throw to Morrison drew the first baseman into Medlen.
In his last three starts, Fernandez has gone 2-1, posted a 1.67 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He has also trimmed his walks-per-nine-innings from a 3.6 rate in April and May, to a 3.1 clip in June and July. "He should be [an all-star]," Fernandez's manager, Mike Redmond, said Tuesday before the start of the Marlins' three-game series with the Braves. "He's been consistent. He's pitched well. It just depends on what do they need [on the NL roster]; if they need another starter or what."
Around The League
CC Sabathia flashed a toothy grin as he held up a baseball with the number 200 inscribed across the sweet spot in black marker, proudly helping to create photographic evidence that a milestone had been reached. This was the easiest part of the night. Sabathia joined a select group of big league hurlers to earn his 200th win before the age of 33, and although he was forced to grind for it, he helped the Yankees extend their winning streak to three games with a 3-2 victory over the Twins on Wednesday at Target Field.
No matter what goes on around him, Max Scherzer keeps on winning. His latest victory Wednesday night had plenty surrounding it. It also had plenty of teammates behind it. "The record's kind of overblown," Scherzer insisted again after Wednesday's 6-2 Tigers win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. "I'm playing a part on a great team here. Every time I start, they're always picking me up, they're always making plays. That's the reason why I'm 13-0. I've gone out there and pitched well and always given our team a chance to win, but so have other guys."
There's no single easy explanation for Paul Goldschmidt's emergence as one of the best first basemen in the National League. Is Goldschmidt stronger? Getting better pitches to hit? Is he simply more experienced? A lot goes into a breakout season like this one.
At Fish Stripes
The promotion of phenom Jose Fernandez to begin the season was one that many around baseball questioned. Now, Fernandez is making the decision look better with each passing day.
Ricky Nolasco has played all of his career for the Miami Marlins, and in what could be his final start in a Marlins uniform, he has been impressive against the Atlanta Braves. He recorded his 1000th career strikeout with the Fish.
The Miami Marlins are sellers in this season's trade deadline, but that does not mean that the team is uninterested in acquiring assets. What types of players is the team looking for in return for their trades?
-MLB trade rumors: Marlins' potential Rockies trade return for Ricky Nolasco - Fish Stripes
The Miami Marlins were offered a deal from the Colorado Rockies including "two pretty decent prospects," provided the Fish paid Nolasco's remaining salary. Who could those prospects be?