The Marlins have hit a rough patch, having only won five of their last 20 games. However, it is the last seven games, and the next two, that could see Miami become historically bad.
If the Marlins lose the final two games of the series against the Houston Astros, they will tie the record for the worst homestand in Marlins Park history at 1-8, first set in June 2012 against the Braves (0-3), Rays (0-3), and Red Sox (1-2).
Judging by the pitching match-ups both tonight and tomorrow, it will be an up-hill battle for the team to avoid this dismal fate. Game two will see Tom Koehler oppose the un-beaten Dallas Keuchel, and the finale will pit Jose Ureña against Lance McCullers Jr., who currently owns a sub-3.00 ERA.
In a nutshell, the Astros are the best team in baseball, and the Marlins are the second-worst. Koehler has largely kept Miami in games so far this season, but averaging five innings a start while sporting a 5.60 ERA is not the kind of performance Miami will need against Keuchel, who owns the third-best ERA in baseball, and could become the first seven-game winner of 2017 tonight.
The Marlins will have more chance of winning tomorrow, as Ureña has shown a lot more promise as a starter, albeit over a limited sample size. He has lasted six innings in both of his starts in 2017, and only allowed two earned runs, helping to stabilize the rotation. After a shaky start to the season, though, Lance McCullers Jr. has turned it around, as evident by back-to-back starts without allowing an earned run in the lead up to the Astros playing in Miami.
Regardless of whether the Marlins can win the starting pitching war in either of the next two games, both the bullpen and the batters will have to step it up if the Marlins are to win. Just last night, the bullpen allowed seven earned runs, wasting a strong start by Dan Straily, and the team went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position despite racking up 12 hits overall.
A mixture of things have gone wrong for Miami so far this homestand. While the Marlins have never performed particularly well at home since moving to Marlins Park, they are two losses away from tying the record for worst homestand since 2012.
Facing the best team in baseball is only highlighting the team’s struggles, and it is clear that the Marlins are still closer to the number one pick in the draft than the playoffs at this point in time.