Miami Marlins: How They Can Quickly Turn Things Around
With all the hype surrounding them before pitchers and catchers even reported, the Miami Marlins, up until this point, have been nothing short of a disappointment.
The franchise went from the black-and-teal Florida Marlins playing in Sun Life Stadium to the brand new Crayola-colorful Miami Marlins, with a brand new ball park that has the entire city of Miami buzzing.
After signing big names like Jose Reyes, Mark Beuhrle, Carlos Zambrano and Heath Bell in the offseason, the Marlins followed their inner-city pals, the Miami Heat, in clinging to mediocrity in their first year together.
Reyes, last year's NL batting champ, has struggled this season, batting .272 with one home run and 13 RBI.
After following manager Ozzie Guillen from Chicago to Miami, Beuhrle has yet to find his form, posting a 5-6 record and an ERA just under 3.50.
Not to mention that All-Star 3B Hanley Ramirez has been inconsistent ever since his shoulder surgery last season.
But all is not lost for the Marlins.
Despite their skittish start through the first 60 games, the Marlins are still two games above .500 and only five games behind first place Washington Nationals.
Miami has too much talent to not be successful this season. The Heat ended up finding their groove in the second half of the season last year and ended up in the NBA Finals.
There's no reason the Marlins can't do the same.
Here are five reasons why they will.
Giancarlo Stanton Has One of the Hottest Bats in the Majors
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He still has the same bat that Marlins fans have loved ever since they first saw him play.
After his 12-run month in May, Giancarlo Stanton has solidified his name as an elite power hitter in MLB.
He leads the team in all offensive categories, with the exception of batting average—he's only two points behind team leader Omar Infante.
After belting 34 homers last season, Stanton has kept his hot stick alive and has been the one dependable hitter for Miami this season. He's on pace for over 100 RBI in 2012, and although it took him nearly a month to get his first homer of the year, Stanton has found his stride and has been the talk of the town for the Fish.
As long as he is in the lineup, Ozzie Guillen's team has the potential to light up the scoreboard.
Gaby Sanchez Is Back
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Miami first baseman Gaby Sanchez is back on the team after spending three weeks in Triple-A New Orleans.
The Marlins are hoping Sanchez can return to his 2011 form where he played in 159 games and belted 19 homers to go along with 79 RBI. His durability is going to be crucial if Miami has any chance of making the postseason.
Sanchez finished his minor league stint, batting .310 with three home runs and 10 RBI. The Marlins need that productivity from New Orleans to help their struggling offense score some runs.
Miami has only scored 19 runs in the nine games it played in June. Hopefully Sanchez can help the team return to its May form, when they finished the month with 21 wins.
A Quick Momentum Boost Against Boston
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Boston was just swept by the Nationals at home and the Marlins have a chance to capitalize on a weak AL East opponent. A sweep of Boston would be the only bright spot to close out a miserable home stand.
Miami has Josh Johnson on the mound against former Marlins hero Josh Beckett in the first game of the series. Beckett is only 4-6 this season and has not been the ace that Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was hoping for.
The last time the Marlins had a six-game losing streak this season, they came back with a win against Arizona. If history is set to repeat itself, then Miami should come out with a win against a disappointing Red Sox team that is sitting in last place in the AL East.
Hanley Ramirez Is Due for a Hit
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After a scorching May, when he collected 38 hits and raised his average 105 points, Hanley Ramirez has not only come back to Earth, he's crashed and burned there.
Ramirez is batting an incredibly low .056 during his last seven games and has one hit in his last 18 at bats. He played miserably in April; hopefully his streaky play won't continue from month to month.
His inability to get on base has inhibited the Marlins from putting runs on the board. Ramirez has only managed five hits this June, but can end that streak with one swing of the bat.
A player of Ramirez' talent doesn't stay cool for long, and when he finds his swing again, the runs will follow suit.
They're Not That Far out of First Place
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Despite seven losses in their last nine games, the Marlins are only five games behind first-place Washington.
The NL East has been a dogfight early on in the season, with the surprising Nationals in first and the struggling Phillies holding it down in the cellar.
Four out of the five teams in the NL East are above .500, something no other division in the National League can boast.
The Marlins, Mets and Phillies have struggled as of late and the Nationals' next nine games are against AL East teams all above .500.
Miami has the ability and the talent to put together another eight-game winning streak and stay atop the NL east. Consistency is the key to success.
Somebody needs to relay the message to Ozzie Guillen.