The Marlins are in hot pursuit of the National League wild-card leaders in mid-June, a stark contrast to where they were at this point a year ago.
But manager Don Mattingly remains focused on combating any complacency shown by his young team.
“You almost have to play against yourself,” Mattingly said. “When you win one, that one is over and you have to be ready to play the next day. Forget about the last one and [focus on] what’s coming forward.”
While the Marlins entered Friday’s game — which kicked off a 10-game homestand against the Rockies, Braves and Cubs — only 1 1/2 games behind the second wild-card spot, their place in the standings could be better.
The Marlins just finished a nine-game trip, all against sub-.500 teams, in which they went 4-5. They squandered leads in four of the five losses and a chance to gain ground.
“The road trip was so-so as far as the record we put out there,” Derek Dietrich said. “We played some good baseball, but we also lost some games we probably could have won.”
Entering Friday’s game against Colorado with a 34-32 record, the Marlins were five games better than they were last season after 66 games (29-37).
Although not a major difference in terms of record, the Marlins are a team seemingly on the cusp of battling for a playoff berth, unlike what they were at this point last season.
Beginning June 17 last season, the Marlins suffered nine losses over an 11-game stretch that effectively ended any faint hopes they could overcome their tumultuous start.
“We’re still playing good baseball and bringing energy,” Dietrich said. “We’re still right there. We haven’t played our best baseball yet.”
The Marlins have played relatively well against the NL East-leading Nationals, winning six of the first 13 meetings, and have split their first six games against the Mets, who held the top wild card entering Friday.
But they’ve been unable to take advantage when playing weaker opponents, going 4-8 against the Braves, Twins and Padres — all of whom had winning percentages under .400 entering Friday.
▪ Dietrich started for the first time in four games on Friday. Dietrich was hit by a pitch Monday in San Diego and has been hit an NL-high 10 times this season and 40 times in his career.
Over the past three weeks, Dietrich came away relatively unscathed after being hit with a line drive in the dugout off the bat of Christian Yelich on May 29 in Atlanta and after he was hit near his wrist on June 1 during a victory over the Pirates.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 4.68 ERA) vs. Colorado Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 2.89), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (5-6, 4.25) vs. Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (0-0, 1.42), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
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