It may not be an accomplishment of epic proportions, but it feels damn good to start off a season with a 3-0 sweep of any team, nonetheless a team in your division. Throughout the three-game series versus the Washington Nationals the Marlins showcased an unexpected knack for scoring, averaging 8.7 runs per game during the opening stretch. The fans got a taste of a little bit of everything from doubles, triples, steals, an "inside the park" HR, a Grand Slam, and much more. Let's just say that the Fish started off with a bang.
If you look at the offensive statistics that the Marlins posted you will immediately notice the staggering amount of runs that they recorded - that is 26 of them. The team has a combined average of .304 amongst all active players, with a total of six HRs, five doubles, and two triples. Not to mention, the Fish also have a team average slugging percentage of .696 in their opening series.
The star performers include Jorge Cantu (5 RBIs), Hanley Ramirez (5 RBIs), Emilio Bonifacio (4 RBIs), and Dan Uggla (2 RBIs). It's nice to know that the Marlins have not missed a beat after parting ways with long-ball hitters Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham.
As for the defensive aspect, particularly pitching, the starting pitchers averaged an ERA of about 3.0 and the entire pitching staff contributed for a 4.50 ERA. If the starting staff continues to go deeper in games and leave the relief pitching for the later innings, then we may see an improvement in overall pitching from the team this season.
Last year only three out of the seven pitchers that started 10+ games averaged an ERA of under 4.0 - Chris Volstad (2.88 ERA), Ricky Nolasco (3.52 ERA), and Josh Johnson (3.61 ERA). It may be a lot of numbers to take in, but these numbers don't lie and the fact is that the Marlins seem to be en route to posting better numbers than last season already.
A key feature to the team that was previously non-existent is the depth of speed found at the beginning of the lineup. Bonifacio, Ramirez, and Maybin are all dash artists that can make it to 1st base in under four seconds. It has even been rumored that Bonifacio recorded a 3.6-second run during Spring Training. That's speed and that's what we have been missing from other batters in the lineup besides Ramirez and Amezaga (on occassion).
To sum things up, it has been an exciting start for the Marlins, but one which must be taken with a grain of salt. It is only the third game out of 162, so the long haul is still ahead. As long as this team stays healthy and produces a consistent offense they will have a shot at the playoffs - just as good of a chance as the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.