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The Florida Marlins to face tougher competition

It seems that the sports writer's can't quite wrap their heads around the fact that the Florida Marlins are in first place in the NL East.  So therefore, they need an excuse for the phenomenon and they have chosen strength of schedule .

The critics will point out that the Florida Marlins have come to occupy first place in the National League East by way of feasting on inferior competition.

The Marlins will tell you they don't care.

"I don't look at the strength of schedule. I just look at the individual game that night and try to win it," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We take every game -- at least I take every game -- as a tough game. I don't even look at records."


That might be the case, but 14 of the Marlin's 20 games this season have been against the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros -- three teams with a combined 23-39 record.

The records of the three mentioned aren't up to date since all three won last night  -- but let's leave that aside for now.

Besides the Nationals, Astros and Pirates the Marlins have also played the Mets and the Braves.  The Fish lost two of three from the Mets and won two of three against the Braves.  And I'm a little lost about why the Astros were such a cakewalk when the Marlins lost two of three from them.

If we jump in the not so Wayback Machine and look at last year's team records against the five clubs the Marlins have faced so far this season, yeah, they turnout to be a walk in the park.

Last season:

Marlins v. Mets, 7-11

Marlins v. Braves, 8-10

Marlins v. Nationals, 8-10

Marlins v. Pirates, 3-4

Marlins v. Astros, 2-3

 Of course, the next line of justification is that the Marlins have been lucky, missing all of the other team's aces.  You betcha, that Santana guy was a push over and we really showed that Smoltz fellow.  Not to mention facing Oswalt and Snell.

On the flip side, the Mets and the Astros didn't have to face Olsen.

I don't have a problem with sports writers who are skeptical about whether the Marlins can maintain this pace, especially when the Fish are having to groom two of the starters on the fly and another one is in what appears to be extended rehab during the early part of the season.  I have a few doubts too, but don't tell me that the teams the Marlins had a losing record against are "inferior" teams.  Sure, everyone else may beat them up (highly doubtful) but the Marlins didn't win against them consistently last season.  Maybe it is time to at least have the suspicion that the young Marlins may be coming of age, offensively if nothing else.

Now, if we can just get five solid starters in the rotation, very good things may happen.  And no, I have no idea how that is going to come about, anytime soon.