made July count with a 16-10 record for the month, but began August on a sour note after a series sweep to the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies. Whereas the Fish once stood at six games back of the division lead, that number now stands at a daunting nine games behind the N.L. East-leading Atlanta Braves. This is not the kind of start the Marlins were looking for entering the last 60-sum days of the season.
And it doesn't get easier for the Fish with the St. Louis Cardinals coming into town starting Friday night. Now two games under .500, the club's attention must return to breaking even before considering any sort of playoff push.
There is some upside looking forward for the Marlins. First of all, Hanley Ramirez is batting .192 after the all-star break (click here for his stats), which is bound to elevate once he shakes off his slump. Batting first in the lineup may not help him drive in runs, but it will refocus his attention toward making contact and reaching base both early and often. As for the team's pitching woes, Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson will both face the Cardinals and look to turn the tides with solid outings, respectively. The bullpen has continued to struggle, but has improved overall after the all-star break.
Furthermore, beyond the series against the Cardinals the Marlins will face teams under .500 in three of their next four series. However, the pressure picks up toward the latter end of the month as the Fish hit the road to face the New York Mets and Braves.
The outlook for the remainder of August looks as such:
- 8/6-8/9 vs St. Louis Cardinals
- 8/10-8/12 @ Washington Nationals
- 8/13-8/15 @ Cincinnati Reds
- 8/16-8/19 @ Pittsburgh Pirates
- 8/20-8/22 vs Houston Astros
- 8/24-8/26 @ New York Mets
- 8/27-8/29 @ Atlanta Braves
- 8/30-9/1 vs Washington Nationals
Time is running thin for the Marlins, but hope is not lost in a division that has fluctuated varies times throughout the season. All it takes is a streak of success and a few missteps by division rivals in order to be back in the thick of things. With little expectations from critics around the league, the Marlins are in prime position to surprise their doubters as the season continues.