Today, we sit literally halfway through the season, and the Braves are 48-34, 14 games over .500, and 6 games ahead of the Nationals for the NL East lead. The Marlins, however, sit 30-51, 17.5 games back, and have the worst record in the majors.
The reasons are many and varied, but it really starts with the offense. Collectively, the Marlins have a wRC+ of 71 - wRC+ is a measure that weights getting on base and park effects to give an overall measure of offensive production; 100 is average, and the Marlins are well below it - and the next closest team is the White Sox at 79. They simply don't do anything well on offense. There are a few bright spots, though. Giancarlo Stanton remains on the team, and despite playing in only 38 games, he remains one of the more valuble Marlins, hitting .260/.341/.479. Logan Morrison has done well, but he's only played in 14 games. Marcell Ozuna, one of their better prospects, has done well to start his career, but his .371 BABiP suggests it won't last unless he makes some adjustments. The rest of the lineup is constructed of guys who should be bench players or in AAA.
On the other side of the diamond, the pitching staff is actually fairly decent. Jose Fernandez is a young stud, but the Braves will miss him during this series. Ricky Nolasco has also pitched well as he continues to be showcased for other teams, notching 105 innings of 3.93 ERA ball. Jacob Turner seems to be rediscovering his top prospect status, and he's performed well in his brief stint in the majors to date. The Marlins also have a decent bullpen - ranked 16th in baseball in ERA - with Steve Cishek (14 saves, 3.15 ERA) and Mike Dunn (2.75 ERA) at the end of games.
The Braves get 6 of their next 9 games against the Marlins, and it would be a real shame if they came away with less than 4 of them. It might be shame if they only get 4.
Tuesday, July 2, 7:10 PM EST on Sports South
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Thursday, July 4 - Independence Day, 7:10 PM on Sports South