MIAMI -- With the next two series coming against losing teams in the D-backs and Rangers, now is as good a time as any for the Marlins to gain some ground in the National League Wild Card race. But to do so, they'll have to turn around their offensive woes and pick up those elusive big hits.
Despite entering Thursday ranked fourth in the National League with a .252 average with runners in scoring position, the Marlins have had a tough time in the second half, hitting at a .228 (42-for-184) clip with RISP.
"Sometimes [big hits] come in bunches, but I know these guys are working hard on their approach," manager Mike Redmond said. "Guys seem to feed off each other. That's what we need. We just need to continue to stay at it and get guys on base."
Since the All-Star break, the Marlins' .232 average and 84 runs both ranked 26th in the Majors entering Thursday. Of Miami's 26 games after the break, 14 have been decided by two runs or fewer, with the Marlins posting an 11-3 record in such games.
They've also managed to record 15 wins in the second half, which was tied for second-most behind the Padres' 16 entering Thursday's series opener against the D-backs.
But Redmond recognized that his team's inconsistency at the plate could keep them from making a final push in the last six weeks of the season. Beyond the next two series and one against the Rockies, the Marlins will face the Angels and Braves -- teams with playoff hopes of their own.
"Playoff teams aren't trying to develop their players anymore -- they're trying to win ballgames and beat you," Redmond said. "It gets hard, but we know that our lineup has the ability to put up some big numbers."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter