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On first trip, Marlins face tests against NL East

On first trip, Marlins face tests against NL East

WASHINGTON -- A promising 5-2 homestand to open the year gave the Marlins a big boost of confidence. How the young club responds against National League East rivals, however, will dictate how its season goes.

The road was not too kind to the club in 2013.

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The Marlins went 26-55 in away games last season. They also must make improvements against NL East rivals. They went 29-47 in the division last season.

"We've got to play better within our division," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's great to play outside your division, but the same time, too, we know we're chasing the Braves and the Nats. Those guys have been dominant within this division. We know we have our work cut out for us. But at the same time, we have a new group of guys. Hopefully, we can go out there and see where we're at."

The six-game road trip takes the Marlins to Washington and Philadelphia.

"You've got to beat teams within our division, and we play these guys 19 times," Redmond said. "We can't run. We know we're going to face these guys. These guys and the Braves have been the best in the division. We know we have our work cut out for us.

"The key is, you've got to pitch. If we pitch, and give ourselves a chance to score some runs, we're going to be in good shape."

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