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Marlins approaching another mid-table finish

Miami is playing well at the minute, but moving above and beyond .500 will be a challenge.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As of late, the Marlins have been dialed-in offensively. Just last night, Miami came back from a 6-0 deficit thanks to a six-run third inning, and later walked-off on the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

Justin Bour had a grand slam and Giancarlo Stanton also homered, bringing them both level with Marcell Ozuna for the club lead with 18 home runs on the season. To put things into perspective, 2017 marks only the second time that three Marlins have hit 18 homers in a single season since the team moved to Little Havana in 2012.

It is not just home runs that have propelled the Marlins at the plate this season, however. Miami also ranks fifth in baseball in batting average (.270), showing just how talented the lineup is every night the team takes to the field. The reason why the Marlins are ten games behind the division lead and 12 games back of the second Wild Card spot, as predicted before the season, is pitching.

A rotation that looked less than dominant before the start of the season has since seen Wei-Yin Chen make only five starts due to injury, Adam Conley get demoted to Triple-A and then struggle while there (4.97 ERA over 38 innings), and the dependable workhorse Tom Koehler get pummeled in eight big league starts before getting injured and then demoted himself.

On the plus side, Dan Straily has been strong more often than not, Edinson Volquez has gotten better as the season has progressed, culminating in his no-hitter a few weeks ago, and both Jose Ureña and Jeff Locke have had their moments, but the replacements battling for the fifth spot have proved not to be long-term solutions.

The bullpen is not in the clear of the blame for Miami's 31-37 record, either. Big winter signings Junichi Tazawa and Brad Ziegler both currently sport ERAs over 5.75, and closer A.J. Ramos has also taken a big step back, although mainly in non-save situations.

Despite the efforts of Miami's multiple All-Star-caliber hitters, 2017 is looking like another season which will end with the Marlins finishing roughly in the middle of the pack. The Marlins need pitching to get them over the hump, and without either spending money in the off-season or selling offensive pieces at the Trade Deadline for prospects and then waiting a few years, it will be difficult for this current core to contend.

The sooner the sale of the team is finalized the better, as the direction of the franchise will become clearer. For now, though, it is shaping up to be another Marlin-esque season.