9/23/2013 8:46 P.M. ET
After rough start, Cishek having historic year
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The way the season started, Steve Cishek had no idea it could actually end with him setting a franchise record for consecutive saves.
After all, the Marlins and Cishek both had a rough month of April. In 12 innings in the first month, the right-hander posted a 5.25 ERA.
Now, days away from the season's end, Cishek finds himself riding a string of 27 consecutive converted saves, matching a Marlins record initially set by Todd Jones in 2005.
Cishek recorded his 32nd overall save and 27th in a row on Sunday in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Washington.
Admittedly, he never thought he would be in such a position with how things went early.
"The way things were going in April, it didn't look like we were going to do too much," Cishek said. "Then late May and June hit."
The Marlins fortunes improved from June 1 through the end of July. Cishek started getting more chances, and he has not blown a save since June 4 at Philadelphia.
"I got a chance to pick up a groove," the 27-year-old said. "Once things started shaping up during that time period, I figured -- Lord willing -- I'd get a few more saves. I didn't imagine getting a team record or this many, or anything like that."
Cishek is growing into the closer role, and his overall numbers are impressive. He now has a 2.47 ERA in 65 appearances.
"He's been so solid," manager Mike Redmond said. "I've talked about it all year. He got off to a little bit of a slow start. It wasn't his fault. It was more of the fact we had trouble getting him in ballgames and getting him enough work.
"He's such a great competitor. He's perfect for that role. I think there is not a guy on this team who doesn't have all the confidence in the world in him and his ability. When he gets out there, we feel like that game is over."
Marisnick soaking in big league experience
MIAMI -- Whether he is in the lineup or observing from the bench, Jake Marisnick is simply enjoying the ride of being in the big leagues for the first time.
The 22-year-old has gone through his share of struggles since being promoted from Double-A Jacksonville in late July. He went from steady playing time in center field to a reserve role in recent weeks.
There are still mechanical issues with his swing, as shown by his .183 batting average in 40 games and 109 at-bats.
Marisnick noted that when he first arrived, he had a little hitch -- or hesitation -- in his swing. He is working more on simply relaxing, while gaining as much insight as possible from veterans like Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco.
"I'm using this time to pick the brains of some of these guys," the rookie said. "I'm talking to them about their mental approaches and what they're picking up from other guys.
"The biggest thing is getting loose up there and getting more comfortable. The last couple of games, I've felt pretty good up there. I'm taking that and working on that every day."
Marisnick joined the Marlins as part of last November's 12-player deal with Toronto. He was on the disabled list for the first month of the season with a broken left hand and then opened the season at Class A Jupiter in late April, before he was moved to Double-A Jacksonville after three games.
At Jacksonville, Marisnick appeared in 70 games and had 265 at-bats.
Due to lost time, he is open to playing winter ball.
"More at-bats would never be a bad thing for me," Marisnick said. "But I haven't really talked to anybody about it."
A highly-touted prospect, Marisnick is glad he received his first big league chance, even if the results haven't been there.
When Spring Training opens, he will have to earn a roster spot, or else start off at Triple-A.
"I think when I first got called up, I tried to do too much," Marisnick said. "I kind of do that when I get promoted. I try to do too much instead of letting my natural ability show.
"I haven't had as many at-bats as when I first got up here. What they've stressed to me is when I get my opportunities, to make the most of them -- kind of enjoy the moment, get the feeling of getting comfortable. It's been coming around a little the last few weeks."
Redmond expects experience to be best teacher
MIAMI -- Banking on a young team to grow together was the Marlins' plan this season, and the strategy will basically be the same in 2014.
So without making major changes, how can a sluggish offense manufacture more runs?
The Marlins are hopeful the core players who have had their struggles will keep progressing.
"I think next year, you factor in a full year of experience for a lot of these guys," manager Mike Redmond said. "Guys will improve, based on their experience, and another year of seeing the pitchers. That part of it will be huge."
The Marlins are winding down their roughest offensive season in a non strike-shortened year. Only the 1994 squad, which had 468 runs in 115 games, pushed across fewer runs than has this year's club.
The Marlins are last in the Majors in runs scored (499) and home runs (95) entering Monday's game.
When the Marlins decided to rebuild following a disappointing 2012, they made it clear that rebuilding will be a process that could last a few years. So going through some hardships were expected.
Miami is averaging 3.20 runs per game, which makes it tough on the pitching staff.
The payroll next year is expected to be in the neighborhood of this season, which was roughly $37 million.
"There is a lot of room for guys to improve," Redmond said. "We've lost a lot of games, but I've said before, we've been able to get a lot of guys into games, and get them a lot of at-bats, and a lot of different scenarios.
"I think we have a solid foundation of young players who have been able to come to the big leagues, and they're getting a lot of experience. Now, it's a matter of figuring out where you can improve this ballclub."