The Miami Marlins are now tied for first place in the National League East thanks to a loss by the Atlanta Braves in Boston.
With a 28-25 record, the Marlins and the Braves hold a 2.5 game lead on the Washington Nationals. The Marlins have had most of their success at home with 20 of their wins coming at Marlins Park. Their road record remains poor at 8-17 but they have shown improvement as of late.
The Marlins won their last road series in Washington that concluded on Wednesday. It was the first road series win of the year for the Marlins. It will take more outcomes like that to ultimately keep the Marlins in the playoff hunt.
The Marlins are 8-9 since Jose Fernandez went down with a season-ending injury that required Tommy John surgery. That mark isn't that good, unless you factor in that most of those games were on the road. While Fernandez is a big loss, he still only is a factor every five days and the team can possibly contend even without him.
Miami has been helped by a strong power output in the lineup but they have found some problems in middle relief. The starting rotation has also faltered more in May than it did in April. If the Marlins do stay in the race, they could look to add relief arms in July before the trading deadline.
Help in the rotation will likely come in the form of the top prospect in the organization. Left-hander Andrew Heaney has been making waves in AAA in his two starts since joining the New Orleans Zephyrs. The Marlins will probably try and keep Heaney in the minors until mid-June in order to not give him "Super Two" status. That would give him an extra year of arbitration and potentially cost the team millions of dollars extra.
Not many expected the Marlins to be in first place with June right around the corner but that is where the team stands for now. The season has has a long way to go but after 100 losses in 2013, the Marlins are giving their fans a reason to get excited about baseball again.
The Marlins will begin their series with Atlanta on Friday night at Marlins Park. Tom Koehler is the scheduled starter.