The Marlins are 27 games into the 2014 season, and while that is certainly a small sample size, the results so far have been better than expected by many across baseball. Miami finishes the month of April by winning 2 games against the N.L. East leading Atlanta Braves.
When the Miami Marlins signed Casey McGehee to be their everyday third baseman this offseason, their expectations had to be somewhat low. After all, McGehee had been exiled to Japan in 2013 after a dismal 2012 that saw him hit just .217, get traded mid-season and then non-tendered at the end of the season.
One would think that the hometown fans would enjoy wallowing in a 9-0 blowout, and for the most part Tuesday, they did. But twice during the contest, the boobirds emerged to vent their frustration with two of their own: Jose Fernandez and Mike Redmond. The crowd gave it to Fernandez when he didn't hustle to first on a twice-bobbled ground ball in the third inning, a base running lapse that cost the Marlins a run. And they gave it to Redmond when he refused to send his ace back out to pitch the ninth after Fernandez had thrown just 98 pitches.
Miami Marlins games might not qualify yet as must-see TV, but the ratings indicate viewers are finding the 2014 team considerably more compelling than last year’s squad. FOX Sports Florida reported viewership through April is up 42 percent from last year. That increase is among the highest average viewership gains for all regional sports networks in the majors.
The Marlins through April have demonstrated considerably more run-scoring potential than last season.
The Marlins closed April with 18 runs in their last two games. That gave them 126 pre-May 1 compared to 73 at the same point last season. "I guess it would be an understatement to say it's a better feeling than it was last year," manager Mike Redmond said. "The guys we brought in we targeted for a reason. You're not sure how fast it's going to come together."
Last summer, while Greg Dobbs was in the midst of a season in which he would hit .228, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria took it upon himself to sign Dobbs to a $1.7 million contract. Loria made the deal without consulting his baseball operations people. The deal turned into the worst of the off season, further proof that owners think they know more about the game than they really do. The Marlins finally designated the unproductive veteran for assignment on Tuesday.
No longer can Giancarlo Stanton be labeled a "slow starter." If anything, Stanton has made a strong case to be the National League Player of the Month for April. After belting a two-run homer in Tuesday's 9-0 win over the Braves, the 24-year-old slugger set a Marlins record for RBIs in March/April. He now has 31, breaking Moises Alou's previous mark of 30 set in 1997.
At last, Nathan Eovaldi was the beneficiary of a big windfall of run support. It was long overdue, but the Marlins right-hander will certainly take it. Marcell Ozuna blasted a three-run homer, Christian Yelich tacked on a two-run shot and Miami rolled to a 9-3 win over Atlanta on Wednesday night at Marlins Park.
There has been a slight change of plans in Rafael Furcal's rehab assignment. On Friday, Furcal will start a fresh rehab stint with Double-A Jacksonville. Initially, the club was leaning toward sending the 36-year-old to Triple-A New Orleans.
Around The League
For five years, outfielder Jeremy Barfield had been rising methodically through the minors. But when he stalled at Triple-A last year, the Oakland A's approached him with an ultimatum: be demoted... or take up pitching.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was officially reinstated before the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Pirates, but the infielder had to wait a few more hours before making his first start.
Three days off seem to have done the trick for Jacoby Ellsbury, who returned to the Yankees' lineup on Thursday after a brief layoff to rest a sore left hand. He then hit a leadoff homer in the first inning -- his first home run as a Yankee.
Reds center fielder and leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton made a spectacular catch to begin Thursday's game against the Brewers, but it may prove costly. The Reds announced that Hamilton sprained the third and fourth knuckles on his left hand.
At Fish Stripes
Giancarlo Stanton sets the pace for the Miami Marlins with a record-setting April, plus links on Ed Lucas, Greg Dobbs, Jose Fernandez and more.
There has been a lot of talk about Giancarlo Stanton's hot month of April, but his offensive production was surprisingly average for him given his career numbers. Where else did he impress in April?
A month of baseball is a relatively small sample size, but a statistical comparison of the first month of the 2014 Miami Marlins season with the first month of the 2013 season shows that the club is headed in the right direction.