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Miami Marlins: Can they make a run?

The Miami Marlins were supposed to be one of the up-and-coming teams of 2015. While most folks around the country believed the Marlins would have to compete for a wild card spot with the Washington Nationals lording over the National League East, there was a strong sense of optimism surrounding South Beach.

Fast forward to the evening of June 16, and the Marlins are playing like garbage. Sitting at 29-37, Miami is seven games out of the division lead and playing like a team on the road to oblivion. The Marlins have already gone through a managerial change and watched as fan interest waned even further, an impressive feat for any organization located in Florida.

The main problem for Miami has been the pitching. Henderson Alvarez was expected to become a real solid piece of the rotation for the Marlins in 2015, but instead has dealt with injuries. When he has been on the mound, the youngster has fallen well short of expectations. Alvarez has a 6.45 ERA in four starts, which while a small sample size is still surprising.

During the offseason, Mat Latos was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds to be a front-end starter. Instead, Latos has only started in 10 games and, like Alvarez, has been underwhelming at best. Latos has a 5.44 ERA, only posting a quartet of quality starts. Latos has also allowed an ugly 1.49 WHIP to stain his stat sheet. In the bullpen, Steve Chisek went from reliable closer to gas can. Chisek has a ridiculous 0-5 record with just three saves, posting a bloated 6.43 ERA.

Offensively, the bright spots are Dee Gordon and the incomparable Giancarlo Stanton. The outfielder continues to provide insanely ample power, leading the major leagues with 24 home runs and 62 RBI. Stanton has been on a blistering pace in June, hitting .385 with eight home runs in only 52 at-bats. Stanton is on pace to hit over 50 home runs, something of a rare feat in this current age.

Gordon has been nothing short of a spark plug for the offense, leading the team with a .357 average and 22 stolen bases. Gordon only has 15 extra-base hits and is without a home run, but the rest of his game has been off the charts. The 27-year-old shortstop has been what many expected Jose Reyes to be when he was in his prime on the New York Mets.

With Jose Hernandez coming back in early July from Tommy John surgery, Miami is not out of the race. Seven games is sizable but the deficit can be made up in a few weeks with a nice stretch of play. However, Latos and Alvarez must start to contribute for the Marlins to make a real charge at their first postseason berth since winning the World Series in 2003.

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