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Strides in bullpen tested early against Rockies

Strides in bullpen tested early against Rockies

MIAMI-- All of those close calls that went against Marlins relievers a year ago have taught them a lesson the hard way.

The club was involved in 89 games that were decided by two runs or fewer, and it won 34 of them.

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The bullpen knows it will play a major role if the club is to reverse that trend this season.

"We've got guys out there who can come after anybody and clean up a situation," setup right-hander A.J. Ramos said. "It's a good feeling. It's reassuring. It shows we're a different team this year."

Ramos was involved in one of those situations in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Rockies. In the eighth inning, after the Rockies scored off Mike Dunn to pull within a run, Ramos inherited a two-out scenario with the potential tying run at third base. He ended up walking Wilin Rosario after he got ahead in the count.

But marking a change from last year, Ramos did not give in to Rosario after getting ahead in the count. Rather than throw him a two-strike fastball, Ramos hoped the batter would chase a slider. With a base open, Ramos did not care if he walked the power-hitting catcher.

Ramos ended up walking Rosario, but it would not matter, as he struck out Nolan Arenado to end the threat.

"The feeling is last year has passed us, and we were really close in a lot of games," Ramos said. "It took one hit or getting one more out. This year, we're making it a point that as a team we're going to get these wins, and as a team we're going to pick each other up. That's why.

"Dunn struggled a little bit; I came in and got the guy out. I'm going to struggle, and someone else is going to come in and get me out of a situation. It's just knowing that the team is all buying in, and we have to play as a team. That's what we're doing right now. I know it's a cliché, but sometimes clichés are the truth."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less