5/7/2014 1:22 P.M. ET
Marlins ready to change road-game narrative
Current successful homestand lends confidence going into California trip
By David Furones / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Following Wednesday's series finale against the Mets, the Marlins are set to embark on their longest road trip of the season, one that will take them through San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco for 11 games in 11 days.
Once Miami completes the road trip, it will have finished a stretch of playing a game on 20 consecutive days before a much-deserved day off.
The Marlins have struggled on the road this season, going 2-10 in a pair of six-game trips that took them through the other four National League East cities.
But after a homestand where Miami sees itself 7-1 entering the final game -- pushing the club into second place in the NL East -- the team has a renewed confidence that this time around, matters will play out differently on the road.
"Just the fact that we've had the amount of success we've had at home, it makes it feel like [the tough road trips were] a long time ago," Casey McGehee said. "I think we've got a lot of guys feeling good about themselves. The great thing is our pitching staff is always going to give us a chance."
At home, the pitching staff has the sixth-best ERA in the Majors at home with a 2.73 mark. That ERA on the road: 4.66, last in the NL.
The offense is also much better at home, even more markedly so. The Marlins' .303 batting average at home ranks second behind the Rockies, but their .215 average on the road ranks 27th in baseball.
"We're further into the season. Early in the season, you make those first few road trips, it takes a little bit to [get used to] getting back on the road," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "We just have to continue grinding away."
For a group of guys used to being in Miami, the grind will be easier knowing that the entire road trip takes place in California.
"It's California, so it's not too bad," Saltalamacchia said. "We've got a lot of guys here from that area, so I think if the team's happy, everyone's happy."
Marlins' offense a big improvement on 2013
MIAMI -- One would think the Marlins' offense would not want to leave the confines of Marlins Park, where the team had scored 124 of its 156 runs on the year entering Wednesday.
It's a vast improvement from how last season started. Through May 6 a year ago, the Marlins had scored just 99 runs. They finished 2013 with the worst batting average in the National League.
Having newcomers Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Garrett Jones hitting in the middle of the order behind Giancarlo Stanton has helped immensely. McGehee says it's more than just the guys driving in the runs that has him and Stanton the top 1-2 run-producing tandem in the NL.
"Without guys getting on base, you don't get those opportunities," McGehee said. "I think the other thing is that you don't have the pressure to drive in a run because you really feel like the guy behind you is going to do it if you leave him out there."
At this point in the season, McGehee feels it's important not to get too high or too low.
"We've got a lot more to go. There's going to be times where scoring runs is tough. Everyone goes through it. Hopefully, we can minimize those times," McGehee said. "To this point, everything's been great, but we can't be happy with what we've done so far. We have to make sure we continue to look to the next day and the next challenge."
Saltalamacchia, crossing over from the American League this season, figures to see a number of pitchers he's never faced on the road trip against the Padres, Dodgers and Giants -- though the Marlins have already faced San Diego and Los Angeles at home this year, taking two of three from both.
When familiarizing himself with new opponents, Saltalamacchia looks more at hitters to help his pitching staff than studying the pitchers he'll face.
"As a hitter, they have to throw the ball over the plate, and it's either you're going to get a hit, or you're not," Saltalamacchia said.
Marlins look at Turner's progress, not results
MIAMI -- Jacob Turner struggled in his first start off the 15-day disabled list for a shoulder strain suffered in batting practice on April 9, allowing six earned runs on nine hits in four innings in Saturday's 9-7 loss to the Dodgers.
Turner has a chance to bounce back against the Padres on Thursday night as the Marlins begin their 11-game West Coast road trip.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia didn't catch Turner in that first outing, but he is confident the 22-year-old right-hander can turn it around.
"He needs some innings," Saltalamacchia said. "Right now, he's behind the eight ball [compared to] the other guys because they've had a few more starts than him, so they're back in the routine."
Turner's battery mate won't gauge his success based on the end results, more so how he battles against opposing hitters one at-bat at a time.
"We can't [say], 'Hey, we've got to get seven innings, [allow a certain number of] runs, this and that,'" Saltalamacchia said. "We've got to look at hitter-by-hitter, what we have to do to get that guy out and keep our team in the ballgame."
• Manager Mike Redmond has been looking for a day to get Giancarlo Stanton some rest. Wednesday's day game after a night game was not that day. The National League leader in home runs and RBIs was in the lineup in his usual No. 3 spot.
• Henderson Alvarez's shutout of the Mets on Tuesday night, his second of the season and third in his past eight starts dating back to his no-hitter against the Tigers last September, made him the youngest pitcher with three shutouts in eight starts since Mark Mulder in 2001.
David Furones is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.