The Marlins have lost 13 of their last 19 games, seven of them by two runs or less.
But after watching the club lose 100 games last season, president of baseball operations Michael Hill is encouraged by what the team has been able to do so far in 2014. After a 5-4, 11-inning walk-off win over the Phillies on Tuesday night, Miami is 40-43, 5 1/2 games off the pace in the National League East.
"This is a good team," Hill said on Tuesday. "This is a great story for what we've been able to accomplish. We're looking to get over the hump."
Given the state of the NL East as the All-Star break approaches, getting over the hump and reaching the postseason isn't out of the question for a team that only last season finished 34 games behind the division champion Braves.
One of the big differences this year is that the Marlins have been much more competitive against quality opponents thus far.
"That's the part that you're optimistic, and encouraged," Hill said. "You are playing well against good teams. You eliminate a mistake here, you like your chances. Silly things that I know we can improve on and it will help us in the long run."
As they head into the second game of a three-game series against Miami, the Phillies are trying to be more competitive within their own division, having lost 16 of their last 22 against NL East opponents.
The pitching matchup on Wednesday will be a rematch of two starters that opposed one another just last Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. Miami right-hander Tom Koehler and Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels each received no-decisions that night in a game that was decided in the 14th inning by a Chase Utley walk-off homer.
The no-decision was nothing new for Hamels, who has had to settle for seven of them in 13 starts this season.
"Anyone would be frustrated pitching the way he has pitched and having little to show for it," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said last Wednesday. "It starts with getting some run support, play defense and when a guy is pitching like that, have something to show for it."
Hamels posted a 1.23 ERA in six June starts, and looks to carry his dominance from last month over into this one. The veteran southpaw also hopes to continue the success he's had away from Citizen's Bank Park. In six road starts, Hamels has a 1.71 ERA, compared with a 3.86 mark at home.
Meanwhile, Koehler, who has had an up-and-down season so far, has been solid over his last two outings, including his start against Philadelphia on Thursday. He's allowed four runs on 11 hits over his last 13 innings pitched (2.77 ERA).
Phillies: Byrd heating up
Marlon Byrd hit .245 in June, but he's been heating up. Over his last seven games, the right fielder is batting .400 (10-for-25) with three home runs and four RBIs.
Byrd hit two homers in Sunday's series finale against the Braves and hit a solo shot in Tuesday's loss to the Marlins.
With a right-handed starter scheduled to take the mound for Miami on Wednesday, Byrd looks to continue his hot streak. So far this season, he's hit .273 against right-handed starters versus .257 against southpaws.
Byrd has struggled, however, against Koehler. He is hitless in five at-bats against him.
Marlins: Ramos to DL hinders bullpen
The 50 pitches thrown in 1 2/3 innings on June 26 at Philadelphia caught up to reliever A.J. Ramos. In the 14-inning contest, Ramos labored through the most pitches he's ever thrown in a big league appearance.
Since then, Ramos has dealt with right shoulder inflammation, which has landed him on the 15-day disabled list.
Ramos had an MRI on June 27, which revealed inflammation but no structural damage. To play it safe, the DL stint was advised.
Ramos has appeared in a team-high 39 games, and he didn't allow a run in 31 of them.
"After that 14 inning game, he was a little bit sore," manager Mike Redmond said. "We tried to protect him and keep him away from pitching, and hoping he'd feel better."
Bryan Morris and Kevin Gregg are now the primary right-handed setup relievers with Ramos sidelined.
• The Phillies have lost nine of their past 11 games.
• Domonic Brown is 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against Koehler. Ben Revere is 3-for-6 against the right-hander. Ryan Howard is 3-for-5 with a double.
• With two hits on Tuesday night, Giancarlo Stanton has 30 multi-hit games this year, which is tied with Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers for most in the National League.
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia is 4-for-11 (.364) with a double, two homers and three RBIs in his career against Hamels. Stanton is 12-for-41 (.293) with two doubles, a triple, three homers and six RBIs against the left-hander, but he's also struck out 16 times.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.