MLB: Why the Miami Marlins Can Take the NL East Lead from Nationals This Weekend

Hugo OlguinContributor IIIApril 20, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 14:  Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Miami Marlins pitches during a game against the Houston Astros at Marlins Park on April 14, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While the Washington Nationals are living up to expectations for their fast start, the Miami Marlins look poised to shock the NL East division leader.

The Marlins will start a three-game series tonight against Nationals just 2.5 games out of first place. We are early in the season, but any time a team plays a division rival, those games mean more. 

Miami has been under the microscope this season for good reasons and bad reasons.

With the team owners reinvesting into the team to re-brand the Marlins and open their new stadium, there has been pressure to see if the Marlins can handle the spotlight.

The Marlins then go out and get bigger name players like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and even Carlos Zambrano to get the fans behind the team.  

The biggest pick up that the Marlins made was hiring Ozzie Guillen as the manager.  A week into the season and Guillen made the controversial comments about admiring Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which is arguably one of the worst things Ozzie could have said with the team and stadium in Little Havana.

I give the Marlins a lot of credit for how they weathered the storm from the controversy.  The owners took action and suspended Guillen, Ozzie apologized and looked like he meant it and for the moment appears to have not burned the bridges with the fans in Miami. 

When Guillen came back from his suspension, the Marlins were 4-6 and now the team has won four straight games.

While it is only April, I believe how the players and organization responded to all the criticism and controversy was amazing.  It shows how mentally tough the team is and how much the organization as whole believes in Ozzie Guillen to stick with him and rally around him in his return.

Now Miami is heading up north to play Washington in a series that can completely flip the NL East standings around.  

Like I said, it is only April, but you can't ignore the momentum of the Marlins when faced with pressure.