Something is brewing in South Florida besides an afternoon thunderstorm. It may be a mirage, but Miami Marlins fans have got to be thrilled with the fast-start Fish.
Off to one of the best opening weeks in franchise history with a 4-1 record, the Miami Marlins offense has performed beyond expectations. After finishing last in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging in 2013, the much-maligned Fish lead MLB in runs scored and average, are second in OBP and fifth in slugging after Friday’s games. The biggest surprise in the the first week of the new season, the Marlins are a far cry from the team that opened 2013 with a 1-9 record. Let’s gain some perspective by looking back:
- The Marlins have outscored opponents 35-17 for an MLB-leading +18 run differential. They didn’t score their 35th run until the 17th game last season.
- By the time they scored their 35th run, they had given up 76.
- The closest they came to .500 was at 0-1, after a 2-0 opening day loss to the Nationals. They didn’t spend a single day above .500 the entire year.
- Casey McGehee leads the Marlins and MLB with 10 RBI through five games — the fastest any Marlins player has reached 10 RBI in team history. Last season, Justin Ruggiano led the Marlins with 10 RBI … on May 1.
- Adeiny Hechavarria led the Marlins with 123 hits a year ago, yet hit a paltry .223 and scored only 30 runs. After five games this year, he’s 8-for-15 with a .533 batting average and four runs scored. He’s on pace to register 259 hits and score 130 runs.
- It’s only the fourth time in the Marlins’ 22-year history that they’ve earned at least four wins in their first five games.
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Granted, it is only five games, and they could lose the next five in a row, but that’s hard to imagine when you look at how strong their pitching is now and could be in the future.
Jose Fernandez dominated in his opening day victory, giving up five hits and one run while striking out nine and walking none in six innings. No. 2 Nate Eovaldi (6 IP, 6 H, 2 R 1 BB, 6 K) was nearly as dominant on Tuesday and even No. 5 Tom Koehler was impressive in his victory Friday night.
But the most impressive statistic so far has been the dominant bullpen. In 18 innings pitched, Marlins relievers have a 0.50 ERA — giving up only one run on 11 hits, with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Closer Steve Chisek picked up where he left off last season, getting saves in his first two opportunities and running his consecutive-saves streak to 31 games.
The Marlins mettle will tested, however, over the next month with 15 of their next 26 games against the Nationals, Braves and Dodgers. It may be an entirely different story come early May, but the Marlins have alerted the NL East that they are not the weak link many teams expected.