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Miami looking to maintain focus under pressure

Miami looking to maintain focus under pressure

ATLANTA -- All season the Marlins have met adversity head-on, and they've done a pretty good job pushing through no matter how daunting the task.

In May, their ace, Jose Fernandez, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. Rather than fall apart, Henderson Alvarez took on the role of ace and made the All-Star team. Someone has always stepped up to pick up the slack.

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Now, on the brink of falling completely out of the Wild Card race, the Marlins are being tested yet again. Are they running out of gas late in the season, or are they set to make another surge?

To stay in it, Miami must do a better job of executing.

"I don't think you can write us off just yet, but shut-down innings are going to be huge, and just executing across the board is what we're going to need to do to stay in this," starter Tom Koehler said.

Defensively, Miami didn't make the plays in Friday's 5-2 loss. Garrett Jones committed his 13th error of the season, the most of any first baseman in the big leagues. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna also was charged with an error, which allowed an unearned run to score in the seventh inning.

They also didn't make the necessary pitches. Twice in the innings the Marlins scored, the Braves countered in their half of the inning.

The Marlins have had their troubles in the field, posting 88 errors, which are seventh most in the Majors.

"We've just got to keep playing hard," Jones said. "We've had a lot of comeback wins, and our offense is strong, and we can score a lot of runs, and our pitching has been great. We need to stick to the plan, stay focused and don't let a couple losses deter us from our goal."

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