Jeffrey Loria loves it when a plan comes together. Just as he orchestrated, his payroll-shredded Miami Marlins tore up baseball in June, starting their climb toward the postseason.
What? You're not buying that. OK, fair enough, but this part is true: The Marlins had the third best record in baseball in June. Not joking. They really did.
The Marlins mark of 15-10 — capped by a walk-off grand slam Sunday — was better than anybody in the NL East, and better, in fact, than 27 other teams in baseball. Only the scorching hot Pittsburgh Pirates and the rebounding Blue Jays (both 17-9) had better records in June.
Before you jump on the fishwagon, know that the Marlins still only have 29 total wins — so in other words, they won more in June than they did in April and May combined. They're still 18 games back from the first-place Braves.
Having Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup was a big help — he hit five homers and drove in 13 runs. But the Marlins got contributions from any of people, such as rookie Marcell Ozuna (26 hits, 15 RBIs), the returning-from-injury Logan Morrison (.320/.370/.520 in 14 games), 31-year-old rookie Ed Lucas (.301 with 25 hits) and Justin Ruggiano (.314 after hitting .210 the first two months of the season).
Here's manager Mike Redmond on the Marlins' stellar June, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
"To do what we did in June is great. Are with happy with it? Yes. Are we satisfied with it? No. You're seeing a different attitude, a different approach out there. We've got some guys healthy and different contributors that we didn't get the first couple of months. We're having fun."
The Marlins weren't the only team doing something different in June than what we've come to expect:
• The Toronto Blue Jays (17-9) and Kansas City Royals (16-11) both led their divisions, while the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres (15-13) were tied atop of the NL West.
• The San Francisco Giants (10-17) had the second-worst record in baseball, better than only the Chicago White Sox (8-19).
• The Los Angeles Angels (14-13) were second best in the AL West.
• The New York Yankees (11-16) had as many wins as the Seattle Mariners (11-16) and New York Mets (11-15).
• If June were the entire baseball season, the playoff teams would be: Blue Jays, Royals, A's, Red Sox and Orioles (AL) and Marlins, Pirates, Dodgers, Padres and Braves (NL).
Lucky for many other baseball cities and hopeful fanbases, June is not end-all of baseball.