Marlins Spelling 'Home Field Advantage' Early in the Season with Young Players
Through the first two months of the 2014 baseball season, the Miami Marlins have applied the term 'home field advantage' to their recent success. As of June 3, the Marlins hold a record of 29-28 and are two and a half games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East; numbers you would consider to be of an average contender early in the season.
The way they win games is simple... play baseball in Miami. They are 21-11 at home this season and hold the highest number of home victories by any Major League team in 2014, not to mention it is the best start the Marlins have had at home in the history of their 22-year old franchise.
On the other hand, their performance on the road has been dreadful thus far. They are 8-17 and have the lowest number of road victories in the majors. In addition to their struggles, the Marlins had lost seven straight series on the road to begin the 2014 campaign, and yet they are still in the race with the Atlanta Braves & Washington Nationals for the National League Eastern Title.
It doesn't take a baseball brainiac to know that the Marlins are a franchise historically known for losing & underachievement. They have never won a division title since their induction into Major League Baseball in 1993, and have made only two trips to the postseason as the wild card in 1997 & 2003. The Marlins went on to win the World Series both years, defeating the Cleveland Indians in '97 and the New York Yankees in '03.
This year the Marlins can also be thankful for having a team defined by youth. Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Derek Dietrich, Adeiny Hechevarria, Jose Fernandez & Giancarlo Stanton are all under the age 27 and each player has either at least 5 home runs or an ERA under 3.5.
Having said that, it is June, not September. These youngsters haven't reached their full potential yet but have proven their ability to play in the major leagues. It is now up to them and their management to keep pace with the Braves & Nats until the end of the season, giving themselves a shot at the playoffs with the wild card game established.
After all, the playoffs seem to like the Marlins: they are 6-0 in postseason series play.