After dropping three games on the road, the Miami Marlins will begin a nine-game homestand on Monday.
The Marlins struggled on their recent road trip and will need to play better over the next week. In five games in Tampa Bay and New York, Miami went 2-3 and had some poor play in the field. A large lead was washed away at Citi Field, in a game that featured three Miami errors.
Miami finds itself 7.5 games back of the division leading Washington Nationals, which is a large deficit this time of year. There is plenty of time to turn things around, but the Marlins will need to start playing better ball in a hurry.
Without a true ace, Miami has been unable to get much momentum going thus far. When the team needs a stopper, it finds itself without one. In past seasons, the late Jose Fernandez would put an end to skids at times. In 2017, finding a reliable starter has been an elusive goal for Miami.
With the rotation struggling, the Marlins have had to rely on their bullpen early and often. The relievers have been overworked and have faltered at times. In the aforementioned blown lead in New York, Brad Ziegler was knocked around. The veteran had been one of Miami's most reliable arms heading into that contest.
Injuries have also complicated matters for Miami and have hurt the chances for an extended winning run. In Sunday's game in New York, Martin Prado limped off with a hamstring injury. Prado did not start the game, but entered when Miguel Rojas left with a thumb issue. Miami recalled JT Riddle for the start of the homestand, but could still deal with some depth issues.
During the nine-game homestand, the Marlins will welcome the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. All three teams can be challenging at times, especially for a shorthanded Miami team. Wei-Yin Chen and Edinson Volquez are currently on the disabled list, but both are expected to return at some point during the homestand. The Marlins may have to reach back into the minor leagues for pitching otherwise.
Monday's homestand opener against St. Louis will get underway at 7:10 p.m.