9/21/2013 6:26 P.M. ET
Miami seeks power boost in ace-heavy NL East
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Pitching has kept the Marlins close in so many games over the course of the long season. Still, the club hasn't had much to show for it simply because they haven't manufactured enough runs.
The frustration is reflected by their 20-33 record in one-run games.
The timely hit has been elusive all season. But the most glaring weakness is a lack of power.
"We have a tough time slugging with teams, especially at our ballpark," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Nobody really slugs at our ballpark. Having that power is nice. We got to Philly, and they put up a couple of homers and six runs quickly. We have to rely more on getting four or five singles to score runs. That's really becoming the difference."
The Marlins rank last in the Majors in pretty much all the significant offensive categories, such as batting average, runs scored, home runs and slugging percentage.
The National League East is loaded with standout starters. Washington's Jordan Zimmermann threw a two-hit shutout on Friday night, earning him his 19th win. On Saturday, the Marlins were scheduled to face the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg. Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher over the Marlins on Thursday.
"There is a lot of good pitching in our division," Redmond said. "Runs are going to be at a premium. We've got to figure out ways to score more runs. It's pretty simple, really. We've got to score more runs."
Marlins shown to be above average with fundamentals
WASHINGTON -- For a last-place team, the Marlins can take pride in the fact they aren't giving runs away.
Considering their record, the Marlins have been remarkably good at minimizing their unearned run totals. They've yielded just 43 on the season, which is tied with the Rangers for 10th fewest of any MLB team.
The Orioles pace the Majors with 28, and the Reds are second at 32.
Every team ahead of Miami has a winning record, and they either will be heading to the playoffs or they remain in contention for a Wild Card berth.
Marlins infield coach Perry Hill is a stickler for fundamentals, and he notes that it is rare for teams with losing records to not have much higher unearned run totals because errors tend to prove costly.
Miami has the second-worst record in baseball. Yet, the team that is last in wins, the Astros, also has allowed the most unearned runs -- 78. The White Sox have the third-worst mark in the game, and they rank 29th in unearned runs with 76.
Consider the A's, who are primed to clinch the American League West and have allowed 46 unearned runs. The Braves, about to wrap up the National League East, have given up just 34, which is third.
The Dodgers, winners of the NL West, are 24th in unearned runs allowed, giving up 58.
"It's fundamentals," Hill said. "Making the routine plays, and being in the right position. That's it."
Road schedule wraps up where it began
WASHINGTON -- The Marlins are wrapping up their road schedule in the same stadium they opened.
Going full circle, the Marlins are winding down their final road trip at Washington. The series concludes on Sunday at Nationals Park.
It's a rough year all around, but the Marlins have really struggled away from Miami.
At Marlins Park they are 31-44, compared to 25-54 in visiting parks.
"It's been tough, at home and on the road," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's pretty obvious where we have to improve, it's offensively. Scoring runs, especially on the road, has been tough."
The Marlins are averaging 2.9 runs a game in 79 road games, compared to a 3.5 average at Marlins Park through 75 games.
Dealing with the travel and playing in different ballparks is an adjustment for young players.
"I think with this experience, we're going to be better for it," Redmond said. "We have a lot of guys who are young and are rookies, who are seeing a lot of the pitching for the first time.
"We need to play better all the way around, not only on the road. I think as guys improve as players, we'll see those numbers start to turn around as well."
The Marlins opened the season on April 1 at Washington, and after Friday's 8-0 loss, they fell to 0-8 at Nationals Park.