7/24/2013 9:20 P.M. ET
Starting rotation thrives amid offensive struggles
By Ian McCue / MLB.com
DENVER -- Even in the midst of a 37-inning scoring drought, the Marlins' starting pitching was consistent, a bright spot in an otherwise tumultuous slide.
The difference is that strong outings have turned into wins in Denver, both Tom Koehler and Jose Fernandez tossing at least seven innings and surrendering two earned runs or fewer. Even after losing Ricky Nolasco in a trade with the Dodgers in early July, Miami's starters have a 3.03 ERA since June 16, third-best in the Major Leagues behind the Rays and Pirates.
Marlins starters have also given up three runs or fewer in 27 of 31 games.
"Our pitchers have done a nice job, even in Milwaukee where weep, just didn't score any runs," manager Mike Redmond said. "Our pitchers have done a great job of keeping us in ballgames. It's been fun to watch these guys go out there and improve and continue to work on their pitch selection."
Despite boasting the 11th-best ERA in the Majors at 3.79, the Marlins rank dead last in nearly every major offensive category -- runs, hits, home runs and RBIs. It's those offensive woes that have them sitting in the basement of the National League East.
"They're facing hitters that they haven't seen before in good lineups and they're learning and they're taking all the info in and going out there and competing," Redmond said. "That's what I think I'm the most impressed with, is these guys don't seem like they're intimidated by anybody. They're just going out there and they're doing their job and they're learning and pitching well."
Cishek sharp after long layoff
DENVER -- In three games against the Brewers where the Marlins failed to manufacture a run, Marlins closer Steve Cishek never left the bullpen.
Having not pitched since the final game before the All-Star break, Cishek was more than just a little relieved to finally step onto the rubber Monday night for his first save opportunity since July 4. He wasted no time picking up his 18th save, needing just eight pitches to strike out two and induce a quick groundout.
"I got up a couple times against the Brewers out in the bullpen, late," Cishek said. "It's not the same as, obviously, being in a ballgame, so it was good to get back out there."
Cishek recorded his second straight save Tuesday night, the first time he's had a save in consecutive games since the beginning of the month. He credits timely hitting for the Marlins taking the first two of a four-game series at Coors Field, the resurgent offense offering him a chance to close out games.
"It definitely helps," Cishek said of pitching more regularly after more than a week away from a live-game setting. "But you can't let that stuff get in your head, otherwise you're not going to be able to perform out there. So, really try not to think about it, but it's definitely nice if you can go out there at least every few days."
Stanton comfortable in Coors' high altitude
DENVER -- Every big league hitter has a park where every swing seems to drive in a run, success almost expected in every at-bat. For Giancarlo Stanton, that park is Coors Field.
When Stanton crushed a ball into the left-field bleachers for the Marlins' fourth run Tuesday night, it was his seventh home run in just nine career games at Coors. Those seven homers are the second-most for Stanton in any road venue.
The only place ahead of Coors is Nationals Park, where he has 11 home runs in 23 games. Stanton's batting average (.355), on-base percentage (.474) slugging percentage (1.097) are all higher at Coors than anywhere else over his four-year career.
"He has the ability to go out and really dominate a game on any given night," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think every player that played hits better in one ballpark or the other for whatever reason."
With 11 homers this year, Stanton is well off his 2012 pace of 37. But Redmond said he's seen improvement from his star right fielder in Miami's two straight wins.
"I think over the last two days, I've seen his at-bats get a lot better," Redmond said. "He looks like he's more confident and tonight he had put together some good at-bats."
Stanton is 2-for-6 and has driven in two runs in the first two games against the Rockies.
Redmond impressed by Yelich's poise in debut
DENVER -- Christian Yelich admitted he could not have dreamed up a better Major League debut after Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Rockies.
Yelich, 21, went 3-for-4 with three singles and drove in two of the Marlins' four runs Tuesday night. It was a quick adjustment for a player who was playing for Double-A Jacksonville the previous day.
For Marlins manager Mike Redmond, it was only further evidence of the potential Yelich demonstrated in Spring Training.
"I think what I saw was a lot like what we all saw in Spring Training," Redmond said. "It was just a no-panic confidence, great at-bats. He went up there and he looked totally comfortable in his surroundings and he didn't look like he was nervous at all, which sometimes [young players] get a little bit overanxious in their debut."
Yelich, who made his second start in left field Wednesday night, became just the third player in franchise history to notch three hits in their big league debut. He joined elite company -- his own manager and Giancarlo Stanton.
• Outfielder Marcell Ozuna will see a hand specialist in Miami Thursday morning instead of Wednesday as originally planned. Ozuna jammed his left thumb Monday night while making a diving grab in center field, the same night he was sent down to Double-A Jacksonville to open up space for Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick.
• Ed Lucas and Placido Polanco were both in the Marlins' lineup Wednesday because the Rockies had left-hander Jorge De La Rosa on the mound, Redmond said.
Polanco is hitting .340 and Lucas .313 off lefty starters. Redmond has also been pleased with the results of this lineup since the series in Colorado started and saw no reason to change it.
"We won a couple games here and we're playing good and we'll ride it out," he said.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.