The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - INSIDE PITCH

MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins, who have slipped under .500 after a promising start, can look with envy at the team they hosted this weekend, the Oakland Athletics.

The A's have the best record in baseball, yes. But, beyond that, they have not used a single rookie this season, and that doesn't mean they don't have a talented farm system -- because they do.

No, it's function of staying healthy and having veteran depth.

The Marlins, on the other hand, have turned to rookies time and again due to injuries to starters at catcher, second base and left field.

In addition, the Marlins' failings at No. 4 and No. 5 starters have caused the organization to call Triple-A New Orleans repeatedly.

Among the rookies the Marlins tried this year are pitchers Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani, catcher J.T. Realmuto, second baseman Derek Dietrich and outfielder Jake Marisnick, among others.

As a small-market team, the Marlins will likely always tap into their farm system for replacement parts.

But for the second half of this season, if the Marlins want to truly contend in a National League East race that lacks a dominant power, they will want to settle on a lineup, avoid more injuries and start to gel as a team.

After all, they are now 39-43. They were swept at home by the A's on Sunday. Overall, it's the Marlins' fourth straight loss and it matches their season low of four games under .500, which was previously set in April, when they were 6-10.

The Marlins are hoping to turn this around quickly, with their NL East rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies, coming to town on Tuesday.

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MLB Team Report - Miami Marlins - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 39-43

STREAK:Lost four

NEXT: Tuesday -- Phillies (RHP A.J. Burnett, 5-7, 3.89 ERA) at Marlins (RHP Henderson Alvarez, 5-3, 2.32 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP Henderson Alvarez has been good all year as his 5-3 record and a 2.32 ERA can attest. But he was brilliant in June, posting a 3-0 record and a 1.05 ERA. Now he turns the page as he starts on Tuesday -- July 1 -- against the Phillies, a team he has also handled well with a 1-1 record and a 2.03 ERA in four appearances. Alvarez has been good in every circumstance he will face Tuesday night, and not just his record vs. the Phillies. He is also 4-1 with a 1.44 ERA at home this year and 5-2 with a 1.88 ERA at night.