At the time of writing my last piece, the Marlins were in a bad place. The team was enduring a five-game losing streak and the lineup, rotation and bullpen were all causes for concern. There were even rumors that manager Mike Redmond could be fired after less than ten percent of the season. Well, those rumors might have just provided a spark.
In the past week, Miami has gone 6-1, swept the "World Series favorite" Washington Nationals, rejuvenated a fan base and become relevant again. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was named NL player of the week after hitting a blistering .500 and driving in ten runs. The starting pitchers have stepped-up their game too, having thrown at least six innings in six of the last seven games which has been a big factor in the team outscoring the opposition 37-12 over the last seven days.
What a difference a week makes.
The Marlins' playoff chances already looked to be in jeopardy after they dropped to eight games under .500 last Tuesday night in Philadelphia. After coming into the season with relatively high expectations, the Marlins fell flat on their faces during the opening home stand, managing only one win out of the first six games. The trip to Atlanta showed more promising play, but then the Fish were completely outplayed by the Mets in the big apple. Something had to change. To achieve this change, the organization was reportedly discussing new managers in the hopes of revitalizing the team.
After those speculations a week ago, the team has been on a tear and could easily own a seven-game win streak if it wasn't for Steve Cishek's blown save on Monday. Mike Redmond is a player's manager, and he has earned the utmost respect from the entire clubhouse. We will never know whether the possibility of losing Redmond gave the players some extra motivation to go out and win, but there is definitely a chance that it was a contributing factor.
Whatever the reason, the Marlins have finally got into gear, and they are playing at the level experts predicted that they were capable of. Dee Gordon was one of the only players who was performing during the Marlins' slump, and now he continues to go from strength to strength. He leads the entire league in hits (by six over St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter) and owns a .415 OBP. His energy off of the field cannot be understated either, as his antics will surely boost morale.
Martin Prado is demonstrating the professionalism and leadership which was expected of him, and he continues to have great at-bats. Bunting the runner over to third in last night's win proved that he is a team player, and this is invaluable to a young team. Giancarlo Stanton keeps crushing balls and driving runs in left, right and center and Michael Morse broke out of a rut by driving in the game-winner in the eighth over the Mets last night.
This is a completely different team from the one I wrote about last week; the Fish are no longer struggling to keep their heads above water. The momentum is building, and hopefully it carries over into today and the rest of the season.