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Marlins enter July as one of MLB's hottest teams

The Marlins produced more wins in June than they had through the season's first two months combined.

Things are supposed to heat up in June – but by 180 degrees?

That’s what happened figuratively in Miami, where the previously floundering Marlins turned into one of baseball’s hottest teams.                              

The Fish went 15-10 in June after going a combined 14-41 through April and May.

“I’m excited,” manager Mike Redmond said of the team’s resurgence. “After April and May, to do what we did in June is great.  Are we happy with it? Yes. Are we satisfied with it? No.

“I think you see a different attitude, a different approach out there. We got some guys healthy, and we’re getting different contributors now that we didn’t get the first couple of months. It takes a little bit for the guys to gel and come together, but we’re having fun.”

The biggest factor in the Marlins’ June success was health. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton returned from a stint on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, and Logan Morrison made his debut after offseason knee surgery.

The rotation also got a huge boost, with Nathan Eovaldi making his first starts after being put on the DL with a shoulder injury the day before the season began.

Perhaps the most pleasant development in June was the pitching of right-hander Jacob Turner. 

Acquired last July in the trade with Detroit involving former Marlins Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, Turner began spring training this year with a rotation spot his to lose – and he lost it.

Turner, 22, spent the season’s first two months at Triple-A New Orleans (Pacific Coast League) before being promoted to Miami on May 31. Since then, he has gone 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts.  According to the Elias Sorts Bureau, the last pitcher age 22 or younger with an ERA that low through six starts (40-plus innings) was Mark Prior (1.67) for the 2003 Cubs.

Even if free-agent-to-be Ricky Nolasco is dealt before the July non-waiver trade deadline, the future looks bright for the Marlins rotation. Eovaldi and Turner have joined ace Jose Fernandez, and Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to make his first start in Atlanta on Thursday. Like Eovaldi, Alvarez had been sidelined all year with a shoulder injury.

”The pitching staff is more stable, and you’re seen a fun and exciting team out there,” Redmond said. “With the stability of the lineup, getting Stanton and LoMo back in there, that’s lengthened out our lineup a little bit. I think guys are more and more comfortable. And when you start playing well, guys seem to come up with big hits.”

Player of the Month

1B Logan Morrison -- A veteran presence at 25, Morrison returned from offseason knee surgery to hit .320 with a homer and five RBI. His presence at first allowed Greg Dobbs to assume the pinch-hitting/bench role for which he’s best suited.  

Pitcher of the Month

RHP Jacob Turner – Went 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in five June starts. He notched the team’s first complete game of the season with a  7-1 victory against San Diego on Saturday night.
 
Who’s Hot
 
CF Marcel Ozuna – Ended June with a nine-game hitting a streak, which he extended on the first game in July. He began the month in right field, then moved to center when Giancarlo Stanton returned from the DL.

LF Justin Ruggiano – One of last season’s few positives, he batted  .314 with three HRs and six RBI in June after hitting .230 in April and .191 in May.

RF Giancarlo Stanton – Stanton returned June 10 from the DL to hit .296 with five HRs and 13 RBIs. His .227 April average is a distant memory.

Closer Steve Cishek – Cishek’s funky delivery helped him go 1-0 with an 0.75 ERA in 12 innings (13 games) during June, when he converted nine of 10 save opportunities.
 
Who’s Not
 
2B Derek Dietrich – Provided a little punch with four homers for the month, but batted just .207. The lefty hitting Dietrich might be headed for a platoon with righty hitting Donovan Solano, who was recalled from Triple-A after Monday night’s win against San Diego.

RHP Tom Koehler -- Went 1- 2 in June with a 6.83 ERA, which was  inflated by a June 15 outing in which he allowed nine runs in 4 2/3 innings against St. Louis. Unless or until Nolasco gets traded and with Alvarez’s appearance, Koehler could be destined for the bullpen or minors.

Numbers game
 
2: Number of Marlins (OF Chris Coghlan, 1B Casey Kotchman) put on the disabled list in June after 11 players were DL-ed in April and four in May.

10: Number of Miami’s come-from-behind victories in June.
 
9-4:  June record posted by Marlins relievers. The nine wins by relievers tied Arizona and Kansas City for most in the majors.
 
.600: Marlins’ June winning percentage, which trailed only Pittsburgh (.654, 17-9), Toronto (.654, 17-9) and Boston (.607, 17-11) in the majors.

Charlie McCarthy can be reached at mac1763@bellsouth.net or on Twitter