In one of the most important weeks of baseball for the 2014 Miami Marlins, the team played up to its potential on the latest road trip. The Marlins finished with a 6-1 record, taking three of four from the divisional rival Atlanta Braves and then sweeping the Houston Astros for the first time in franchise history.
The Marlins are actually playing for something, and everyone knows it. The pitching has been great even though the rotation may not consist of All-Stars. The hitting has been there as well even if Giancarlo Stanton strikes out four times in a game like he did on Sunday. It is the perfect combination of offense, defense and pitching that got the Marlins through the road trip, and that will give them a huge boost heading into the last couple of days of July.
With the trade deadline looming, the Marlins’ players cannot be thinking about what could happen. Miami returns home on Monday to start a seven-game homestand beginning with the Washington Nationals, who sit on top of the NL East. Then, Miami hosts the Cincinnati Reds, who struggled against the Nationals this weekend.
The Marlins need to take at least two games from the Nationals to stay alive in the divisional race. The team looks out of it now, but by the time the Marlins start their series with the Reds, they could be in striking distance of the NL East lead and potentially the Wild Card lead as well.