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5/12/2014 10:10 P.M. ET

Marlins seek remedy for road woes

LOS ANGELES -- "Win at home, split on the road" is the rule of thumb in the big leagues.

The Marlins have half the equation down. They've been outstanding at Marlins Park, sporting a 17-5 record, but they need some dramatic improvement on the road. After losing three straight in San Diego, Miami fell to 3-13 away.

"Maybe we need to put some white pants on," right fielder Giancarlo Stanton said.

The disappointing effort in San Diego revealed that Miami needs some home-cooking reminders.

Stanton called the four-game series at Petco Park "lackadaisical."

Even the team's lone win, 3-1 in 11 innings on Thursday, was uninspired until late.

The starting pitching struggled in each of the three losses, and what's disheartening is that the efforts were by the top three in the rotation -- Jose Fernandez on Friday, Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday and Henderson Alvarez on Sunday. Each was unable to pitch as many as six innings, and they combined to allow 13 runs (12 earned) in 14 innings. They also yielded 20 hits.

Fernandez's performance now is understandable, as it turns out the 21-year-old is hurt, and on Monday the club placed him on the disabled list with a sprained right elbow.

"We made a lot of pitches up in the zone," manager Mike Redmond said of the starters at San Diego. "We couldn't finish hitters. We just couldn't do anything, it seemed like."

The Padres, who rank next to the bottom in the Majors in runs scored, pushed across 24 in the final three games.

The road gets tougher with three games against the Dodgers and, beginning on Thursday, four against the Giants in San Francisco.

"Home is not going to save us every time," Stanton said.

With or without Fernandez, Marlins' expectations high

LOS ANGELES -- News of Jose Fernandez's elbow injury has rocked the clubhouse. The organization, naturally, is hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

"We're just hoping that it's just sore and we just have to shut him down for however long," manager Mike Redmond said.

Even without their ace, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, the Marlins have raised their expectations this season, and entered the series against the Dodgers with a winning record and near the leaders in the NL East.

Overall, expectations continue to be on the rise for the somewhat surprising Marlins.

As with any young club, there are growing pains. But clearly the organization is in "win mode," as opposed to 2013, when it redirected with a nucleus of rookies and relatively inexperienced players.

Prior to dropping three straight to the Padres, the Marlins held a slim first-place lead in the NL East, but that lead has suddenly disappeared.

The decision to part with reliever Carlos Marmol, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, was a signal that the club is placing a heavy emphasis on production over development.

"We really talked about that this whole offseason -- that we weren't just going to go with our prospects," Michael Hill, president of baseball operations, said. "We were going to bring in veterans to support the young, talented core that we have here. That's been the mind-set from Day 1 -- that our goal is always to play until the end, and play into October."

The Marlins have clearly come a long way from losing 100 games last season, and the team still is growing and trying to find its identity.

As it goes through its ups and downs, the objective is on contending. Realistically, that may be a year or two away. But if things fall into place this season, who knows?

"This is a production league," Hill said. "We're going to give the guys opportunities to produce. If they don't do it, that's why we've tried to build as much depth as we can. If this guy doesn't do it, maybe the next guy will step up."

Worth noting

• Dan Jennings was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to fill Fernandez's roster spot, and he gives Miami a third lefty -- and a middle-innings option -- in the bullpen. After being optioned to New Orleans on May 2, he threw three scoreless innings.

• Hill was on hand on Tuesday to watch prep standout Alex Jackson of Rancho Bernando High School in San Diego. Jackson catches, and plays third base and outfield. Miami has the No. 2 overall pick, behind Houston, in the June 5 First-Year Player Draft.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.