5/8/2014 10:27 P.M. ET
Petco Park where it all began for Dietrich
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- The opening of Miami's 11-game road trip also happened to be an anniversary for second baseman Derek Dietrich.
As the schedule fell, Dietrich returned to the place of his MLB debut exactly one year to the day.
On May 8, 2013, Dietrich saw his first big league action, and his first at-bat was a single off San Diego's Jason Marquis at Petco Park.
Fast-forward to now, and Dietrich once again was starting at second base on May 8 against the Padres at Petco.
"It's pretty cool," the 24-year-old said. "I was excited anticipating coming back here, knowing this is where it all started for me. It's where I made my debut and had that first hit. It's always going to be special, always a park and a place I remember and look forward to."
Last year, Dietrich's parents made the trip to San Diego and went along when the Marlins played the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
On Thursday, his family was back home in Cleveland, Ohio. Dietrich's parents also are in possession their son's first hit ball.
"The park is beautiful and the place is great," Dietrich said. "It's a special moment for me."
A left-handed hitter, Dietrich has mostly platooned at second base. But as he continues his development, the Marlins see him as an everyday big leaguer.
"You talk about young guys developing, he's come a long ways," manager Mike Redmond said. "That's a testament to him. Last year, he got his feet wet in the big leagues. That was huge for him.
"This guy, he can hit. You watch him, the way he runs balls out. He wants to get the big hit. This guy is a gamer. He wants to contribute."
Bats looking to stay hot entering 11-game trip
SAN DIEGO -- At home, the Marlins have been able to put up big offensive numbers. So much so, that they have opponents wondering if they are doing anything fishy.
The Braves openly wondered if Miami was stealing signs at Marlins Park. The accusation became a theme throughout the Marlins' nine-game homestand. Not only did Atlanta mix up its signs, so did the Dodgers and Mets.
No matter what was thrown, the Marlins had an answer and posted three straight home-series victories.
Next for the upstart, young club is to see if the same approach to hitting works on the road.
As productive as Miami has been at Marlins Park, the opposite has held true in the first two road trips.
The Marlins went 2-10 and managed 32 total runs.
Manager Mike Redmond stresses the importance of "playing out of our suitcases."
"Naturally, you can look at the numbers home and the road, but that's going to change as the season goes," Redmond said. "We've had some rough road games and some tough road losses. I'm excited going on the road now and see how we do now. It's going to be a test."
The first leg of their West Coast trek is at spacious Petco Park against the Padres.
Hitting coach Frank Menechino has stressed a team approach where players try not to do too much. The plan at home was to use the big gaps to the team's advantage. And on the road, in smaller parks, the hope was the line drives that were doubles in Miami turned into home runs.
"Frankie has done a great job with the guys," Redmond said. "He's got a unique style. He's relentless with those guys. He never lets up. He's on them. He's talking about approach every single day. And with each pitcher who comes in, he tries to let them understand what they can and can't do. I think we're seeing results of that, too."
As for sign stealing, Redmond has heard conspiracy theories before. When he was a player at Minnesota, he played in the Metrodome, which was often referred to as the "Homer Dome."
Opponents questioned if the Twins turned on the air conditioners when they hit. The thinking was the AC could make the ball travel further.
"You'd see the air conditioners blowing, and everybody was like, 'Oh, man, watch, they turn on the air conditioning when they start hitting,'" Redmond said.
Marlins confident pitching staff will rebound on road
SAN DIEGO -- After taking care of business during their lengthy homestand, the Marlins now are looking to create a similar formula on the road.
Pitching coach Chuck Hernandez sums it up in one word: consistency.
"Consistency, that's it," Hernandez said. "The ones who are getting better are becoming more consistent in their game."
Hernandez points out that the secondary pitches for Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez are improved. Tom Koehler's confidence also is rising.
"You've got to stay consistent," Hernandez said. "That's it."
The Marlins have shown that consistency at home. Now, embarking on an 11-game road trip, they will have to carry it over to away parks.
No one needs to remind the Marlins they are 2-10 on the road, and their road ERA is 4.66 entering Thursday.
Because they are built around pitching, the Marlins are confident their road numbers will even out. At home, they've seen plenty of encouraging signs that they can hold down the opposition.
During their 8-1 homestand, the Marlins posted a 2.71 ERA, and they logged three shutouts. Opponents batted .207 during the nine games.
"They're becoming more confident in what they're doing," Hernandez said. "I think confidence is a big key to why they continue to make some strides. If you get enough results, you start to think you can do this right."
• Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill will be watching San Diego prep standout Brady Aiken of Cathedral Catholic High School on Friday afternoon.
The lefty with a mid-90s fastball is considered among the candidates for the No. 1 overall pick on June 5 in the First-Year Player Draft. The Marlins pick second behind Houston.
• Giancarlo Stanton has started every game this year. At some point over this stretch of 20 games in 20 days, he is expected to get a breather. For now, the slugger is feeling strong and he wants to stay in the lineup.
• Left-handed pitching prospect Adam Conley is on the disabled list at Triple-A New Orleans with left elbow tendinitis. The injury is not considered serious, and he isn't expected to miss much action.
• At Double-A Jacksonville, right-hander Anthony DeSclafani continues to impress. His fastball velocity reached 97 mph recently. He is a potential candidate to get called up later in the season as either a starter or reliever.