After a dismal April, the Miami Marlins are playing the best baseball in the month of May.
Miami -- 25-21 overall -- has posted an ML best record of 17-7 (.708) in the month of May after defeating the San Francisco Giants 7-6 at Marlins Park on May 25. Prior to playing the Giants -- the current three game series is tied at 1 --, the Marlins took two of three games from the Colorado Rockies. Miami is 6-4 in their last 10 games.
The Marlins entered the month of May with the second-worst record in the majors (8-14) and were in last place in the NL East. Miami is now third in the East, just 2.5 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals.
There are a number of reasons why the Marlins have the best record in the majors in May. A few of the reasons is that Miami has the best road record in the month, their pitching staff (both starters and bullpen) has improved dramatically from April and they are playing small ball more often in May. In addition some of Miami's stars are heating up offensively.
Best Road Record
The Marlins have played 14 road games so far in the month of May and have come away with 11 victories. Miami's 11-3 road record in May is in stark contrast to their 2-9 road record in April.
The Marlins -- won't play another road game until June 1 -- played five series in which they swept two, split one and won the other two (two-games-to-one). Miami swept San Francisco and San Diego (three-games-to zero) while they split a two-game series with Atlanta. The Marlins also took two-of-three from Cleveland and Houston.
In their 14 road games, Miami has outscored their opponents 54-41.
Excluding the past four games (May 22-24), the Marlins' pitching has been pretty good in the month of May. Miami -- has surrendered 34 runs the past four games -- has given up 96 runs (17th) in the month of May. For the year, the Marlins have allowed 189 runs which is tied for 17th most in the majors.
Despite the recent string of poor performances on the mound, Miami ranks in the top ten in the majors in several categories in May. The Marlins are tied for fifth in the majors with 8 saves, tied for second with two complete games and tied for 4th with 1 shutout. Miami's pitchers' are also third in innings with 220 and leads the league in fewest homers allowed with 11. In addition, the Marlins have caught 7 (tied for fourth most) of 19 base stealers which equates to a caught stealing of 37% (fifth best).
It hasn't been all good for Miami's pitching staff this month as they've blown four save opportunities (tied for second most), hit 8 batters (tied for fifth most) and have given up the 8th most hits (211).
For the month of May, the Marlins have posted a 3.80 ERA (14th) and have a .255 batting average against (tied for 20th). Overall, Miami has a 3.73 ERA (15th), .253 batting average against (17th), posted 31 quality starts (tied 3rd most) and blown 9 saves (second most).
The Marlins have had several pitchers produce an outstanding month so far in May. The much maligned Carlos Zambrano has led Miami's resurrangence as he is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in five games. Zambrano -- has thrown 35 innings this month -- has allowed 11 runs and has struck out 26 hitters. For the season, Zambano -- had a rocky start his last time out -- is 2-3 with 2.85 ERA
Other pitchers having a good month are Anibal Sanchez, Heath Bell, Steve Cishek and Randy Choate. Sanchez has been one of the top pitchers all season though he just had his worst outing of the season where he gave up five runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings versus the San Francisco Giants (May 24). Sanchez -- ranks 10th in the NL in innings (59.2) and gave fourth in strikeouts (62) -- is 1-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 33.1 innings for the month. Choate -- 14 games, 8.2 IP, 1.12 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8 SOs and 7 holds in May -- and Cishek -- 2-0, 9 games, 11.1 IP, 1.69 ERA, 1 hold and is 1-for-3 in save opportunities -- have been rocks in the bullpen this entire season while Bell -- had picked up four straight saves prior to his last outing -- got rocked in his last appearance (May 25) as he gave up three hits and two runs in 0.1 innings.
The Marlins -- rank in the bottom third of the majors in the main offensive categories -- have seen drastic improvement from April to May. Since the calendar turned to May, Miami has tallied 113 runs (10 th most), hit .257 (10 th best) and has stole a major-league high 36 bases (34-42) and has drawn 94 walks (third most).
Omar Infante -- has been the Marlins offensive catalyst all season -- has continued his hot start to the season in May. Infante is currently hitting .354 and has a .394 on-base percentage along with a .451 slugging percentage in the month. Infante also has hit a home run, drove in 13 RBIs and has stolen a surprising 6 bases in 7 attempts. For the season, Infante is ranked fifth in the NL in batting average (.340) and ninth in slugging percentage (.569).
Other players who have been ripping the cover off the ball in May has been Giancarlo Stanton, Austin Kearns, Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes. After hitting just .254 and 1 home run in the first month of the season, Stanton has amped up his offensive production in May. Stanton has hit .323 and has produced a .720 slugging percentage as he has smashed a major league high 10 home runs in the month. Stanton also has the second most RBIs in May with 25. Reyes -- like Stanton got off to a slow start -- is hitting .299 in May and has stolen a major league high 10 bases. Reyes also has drawn 16 walks this month.
Bonifacio -- leads the NL in stolen bases -- stole 11 bases in 12 attempts in the month of May prior to going on the 15-day disable list on May 20 due to torn ligaments in his thumb. Bonifacio hit .302 with 9 runs scored and 4 RBIs this month. Kearns is a big reason why Miami's pinch-hitters are leading the majors in batting average. Kearns -- is hitting .375 for the season -- is a smoking hot 14-for-27 (.519 average) with 1 homer and 6 RBIs in May
Daniel Benjamin has followed the Marlins since the team's inception in 1993.