SAN DIEGO -- Within the past few days, the baseball establishment is taking a sudden notice of the Marlins, who were so easily forgotten a season ago when they were in the process of losing 100 games.
A headline at Yahoo! Sports reads “Surprise, Surprise: Marlins are in first place.” At Fox Sports.com, it’s “Are the Marlins and Rockies Really This Good?” At SI.com, it’s “Can Surprise Miami Marlins Make Their Early-Season Success Last?”
Everyone, it seems, is wondering the same thing. And for good reason. Vegas picked the Marlins to win no more than 69 or 70 games and already they’ve won 20 with 127 games to go. Many baseball experts thought the Marlins could finish ahead of the Phillies and Mets. But they were in first place on May 9.
The Marlins have a lot of incredulous folks scratching their heads.
Manager Mike Redmond isn’t one of them.
“They’re talking about the Fish, so that’s good stuff, right?,” Redmond said Friday. “At the beginning of the year, nobody was talking about us. So we’ve opened some eyes, and that’s a testament to these guys and the way they’ve played.”
Redmond said he still feels like the Marlins “are still improving in a lot of areas.” But he also feels, no matter what the doubters might think, the Marlins are capable of winning now.
“I think this team has a chance to be special. How special? That’s to be determined,” he said. “I think we have a lot of guys who have a lot to prove.”
With his surgically repaired left arm in a heavy brace, former Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson described the past couple of years for him as a roller coaster that’s been “frustrating.”
He was one of the players the Marlins dealt in their blockbuster trade with Toronto after the 2012 season, struggled in his one and only season with the Blue Jays, signed a 1-year deal with the Padres, and underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career two weeks ago without ever throwing a pitch for San Diego.
Johnson said he wasn’t angry about the trade.
“I only wish we had one more year to put it together,” he said. “I think one more year together would have been good.”
Pitcher Alex Sanabia, who was released by Arizona, has signed a minor league deal with Miami and is expected to report eventually to Triple A New Orleans.
Sanabia was part of the Marlins’ rotation early last season, going 3-7 with a 4.88 ERA before spending the second half of last season on the disabled list.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 2.78 ERA) at Padres LHP Eric Stults (1-3, 5.40), 8:40 p.m., Petco Park.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (2-2, 2.62) at Padres LHP Robbie Erlin (1-4, 4.95), 4:10 p.m., Petco Park.