The Marlins haven’t had as good a record as they did following Sunday’s game in four years.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly believes it can be better.
“I feel like we should be more than six games over right now,” Mattingly said. “There have been games we haven’t been able to hold on to leads and let teams get back in games.”
The Marlins have several close losses against teams with losing records, which has kept their record from being even better.
Against the Braves, Phillies and Twins, all of whom have records that are double-digits below even, the Marlins have gone 5-12.
But their success against some of the best, as evidenced by their three victories in four games against the Cubs, who entered the series with the best record in the majors. The win has given the Marlins confidence that they can contend for the playoffs.
“Coming out of spring training, you kind of just wanted to get yourself in position and not fall out of the race early,” Mattingly said. “You try to hit your stride as a team and then build off it and keep playing good, solid baseball. We’re doing that right now.”
The Marlins are 17-13 against the other five teams in the National League with winning records, and are tied with the Mets for second place in the NL East — and only three games behind the Nationals.
The Marlins have gone a combined 7-3 against the Mets and Dodgers.
The three teams are separated by a half-game in the wild-card standings.
“I think it says a lot about our team and how bad we want it and how we don’t care what your record is,” Jose Fernandez said. “We’re just going out there to beat you no matter who it is. I just told some of the guys we just beat the best team in baseball. We know it. We feel confident and it’s very fun to watch.”
Nick Wittgren has been good at bailing the Marlins out of jams recently.
Wittgren, who was optioned to Triple A twice earlier this season, has inherited 12 runners and not allowed any of them to score.
Wittgren has pitched in 15 games (19 innings), going 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA, 21 strikeouts and only four walks.
But in his 11 appearances since being called up a third time on May 26, Wittgren has not walked a batter in 13 1/3 innings and has 16 strikeouts.
“[Wittgren]’s been a guy we’ve been able to use multiple innings a couple of times, but also a guy you can bring into any situation,” Mattingly said. “He’s been a closer for a long time. That always tells you he’s a guy that can pitch when everything’s on the line.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Marcell Ozuna sat out for the second consecutive game with a sore left wrist. Mattingly said with an off day Monday, he’d likely take the opportunity to give Ozuna three consecutive days to rest.
▪ Reliever Nefi Ogando was reinstated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Ogando has pitched three innings this season and has a 3.00 ERA.
▪ Justin Nicolino made his second solid start Saturday night in New Orleans since being optioned a week ago. In two outings, Nicolino has gone 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 13 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run and four hits in each start with a combined nine strikeouts and two walks.
▪ Monday: Off.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (4-4, 3.56 ERA) vs. Tigers RHP Mike Pelfrey (1-7, 4.91 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Comerica Park.