8/29/2014 8:10 P.M. ET
End of August represents benchmark in turnaround
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Like last year, the Marlins closed out August with a series with the Braves at Turner Field. Not much else is like a year ago for Miami now.
The Marlins entered the weekend at 65-67, and an achievable 5 1/2 games out in the National League Wild Card chase. This time in 2013, Miami was 49-83 and a whopping 27 1/2 games out in the Wild Card standings.
So to be playing meaningful games is a major step forward for a young Marlins squad that is seeking to remain relevant for as long as possible.
"This is what it's all about, to be at the end of August and the start of September, and being able to play in important games where there is pressure and focus on every play ... big hits, and all those things that come with pressure games," manager Mike Redmond said. "We have a lot of guys who have been in these situations, but a lot of guys, younger guys, who haven't. It's kind of hard to describe to people who haven't been part of it, but it's a feeling."
What the Marlins are seeking to get out of this last month is understanding what the moment is all about.
"You have to really be in it to truly feel what it's like, that pressure of having to get a big hit or having to make a pitch," Redmond said. "That's all good stuff. That's stuff, no doubt, we didn't have any chance of capturing it last year, because of where we were. But it's been exciting in just a year to be sitting here, playing meaningful games, playing in pressure situations, and watching these guys go out there and compete."
Capps, Jennings likely to join expanding roster
ATLANTA -- When rosters are eligible to expand on Monday, the Marlins are expected to make a handful of additions.
The most influential callups are expected to be relievers Carter Capps and Dan Jennings. The target is for both to be ready for Monday, but that will become more definite by the end of the weekend.
Capps has been out since May with a right elbow injury, and Jennings sustained a concussion after being struck in the head by a line drive at Pittsburgh on Aug. 7.
Jennings pitched Friday night in a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Jupiter, and Capps is scheduled to throw on Saturday with the Hammerheads.
Because the Marlins aren't likely to make a deal by Sunday's waiver period trade deadline, the most significant additions will come from within.
Capps, who last pitched for Miami on May 25, has the chance to become a significant impact player down the stretch. Jennings is a lefty option.
"It gives us some more cushion, having more arms," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's always nice for every team in September to bring extra guys up. No doubt, it's the same for us. We'll have some guys who can pitch more innings and take some pressure off the guys we've had to rely so heavily on the whole year. That always strengthens your bullpen."
The Marlins' bullpen has been used heavily, logging 423 1/3 innings, which is the fifth most in the Majors.
In recent days, the Marlins received a scare when reliever Bryan Morris returned from Anaheim to Miami to have his right hip examined. It was determined that Morris has a groin strain, and he should be available on Monday as well.
The Marlins have four relievers who rank among the top 60 in the Majors in appearances. Mike Dunn paces the team with 62 appearances, followed by Steve Cishek (57), Morris (56) and A.J. Ramos (55).
• After going with Marcell Ozuna in the cleanup spot for all three games at the Angels, Redmond went back to using Casey McGehee in the No. 4 spot on Friday night, followed by Garrett Jones and then Ozuna. McGehee has been the cleanup hitter for a majority of the season.
• Reed Johnson had 999 career hits entering Friday.