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Miami Marlins return home hopeful

After an emotional 11-games-in-11-days California road trip during which they posted a 4-7 record, lost star pitcher Jose Fernandez for the season, and welcomed a rookie and a veteran to the pitching staff, the Marlins look to regroup at home, where they have been dominant.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As they return home from a brutal 11 game road trip, the Miami Marlins currently sit a game above .500 at 23-22, only two games behind the first place Atlanta Braves in the NL East standings.

Not bad for a team that many projected to be among the worst in baseball.

Only forty-five games into the season, a little over a quarter of the way, it feels like the Marlins have already run a marathon. They have won by walkoff, lost by walkoff, struggled in the bullpen, looked brilliant in the bullpen, seen Jose Fernandez strike out fourteen Atlanta Braves, and seen Jose Fernandez on the surgeon's table. All of this in a little over a month and a half.

The Marlins now embark on a stretch of the season where they play eleven of their next fourteen games in Marlins Park, where they have won a Major League-best 77% of the time.

Tonight, the Marlins send the unpronounceable right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to the mound to make his second career start against the Philadelphia Phillies and A.J. Burnett.  Last week, DeSclafani went from farmhand to hero as he got the call-up from Double-A Jacksonville to the big leagues following the announcement that Jose Fernandez was heading to the DL.  DeSclafani filled up the box score in his first big league game: 1 hit, 1 run, 2 RBI, 6 IP, 7 Ks, and only 2 earned runs. Most importantly to the Marlins, he picked up his first win as the Marlins crushed the Dodgers 13-3.

DeSclafani, who grew up in New Jersey but played college ball just up the road at the University of Florida, will have his first opportunity to pitch in front of friendly fans, save for those Philly fans who will undoubtedly be in attendance at Marlins Park tonight.