After an impressive sweep of the Atlanta Braves, a team no one expected is sitting with the best record in the MLB at 8-1 — the Florida Marlins. Granted, it’s incredibly early to start talking about “best teams” but the red-hot start by the Florida team no one goes to see is hard to ignore, especially when you consider how well they played last year. It looks like Marlins youthful roster took some lessons from their Tampa Bay counterparts by not settling for simply being a good young team.
Now it’s about winning, and, oh look: attendance figures are up by almost 7000 fans. Apparently, everybody does love a winner, even the folks in South Beach. The question is, are the Marlins built for the long haul or is this just a hot start? Speaking of hot starts, the last time the Marlins started a season with an 8-1 record, they won the World Series.
As for the long haul query, the Marlins are built around good young pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Josh Johnson; as well as great young hitters like Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, and Hanley Ramirez. Their bullpen isn’t too shabby either. When add all those components up, it’s evident the Marlins do indeed have the makings of a team who can be good, perhaps even great, for an entire season.
Granted, it is still awfully early to make prognostications about where teams will stand in October, but if the Marlins can do things like avoid injury bugs, untimely losing streaks and late-season swoons, it’s easy to see them challenging the big names of the NL East for the entire season, and perhaps even beating them out for a postseason berth — and maybe even a shot at the third World Series title. Meanwhile, the Cubs are still looking for that first one of the modern era, while the Florida Marlins — a team that’s been torn apart and rebuilt more than a street racing-spec Honda Civic — look like challengers.