What do you attribute the Marlins' slow start to?
Pick an area, and you can find fault. The Marlins' offense sputtered during the opening week, and in the four-game series where they were just swept in New York, no starting pitcher worked more than 5 1/3 innings. Miami's bullpen has been taxed, and there have been some defensive and mental lapses. So it's not one thing. But to snap out of it and get rolling, the starting pitching has to set the tone. It will be a challenge because Henderson Alvarez is on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder.
Is manager Mike Redmond on the hot seat?
A number of readers have e-mailed questions related to Redmond's status since the Miami Herald reported Sunday that the manager may be in trouble. The paper even mentioned Mets Triple-A manager Wally Backman as a possible replacement. Obviously, this is a production industry, and a 3-10 start only fuels such speculation. From what I've been told by several sources, the expectation is the team will turn things around, and Redmond will be part of the process. The Marlins extended Redmond's contract through 2017 late last season. But there are high expectations, and now that the rumbles have started, it's not an enviable situation. If Miami's season becomes a complete disaster, anything is possible. But two weeks of underperforming, from what I've gathered, hasn't raised the level of urgency to make a managerial change. That's always subject to change.
So how long should we expect Alvarez to be on the DL?
Perhaps the biggest relief from the Marlins' poor start is that Alvarez's injury doesn't appear to be too serious. There was definitely a high level of concern a week ago. But the MRI revealed right shoulder inflammation. Alvarez also is dealing with some mild tightness in the elbow, which isn't believed to be a big issue. Some time this week, Alvarez is expected to play catch, and we will know more then regarding how he feels. The best-case scenario would be missing about three weeks, which means he could be back in early to mid May.
The club is looking for a spark. Realmuto, Miami's No. 2-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, projects to be a better-than-average everyday catcher. The question is if he's ready. We're finding out. Jeff Mathis' fractured right hand has accelerated Realmuto's timeline. Saltalamacchia's struggles have opened the door for Realmuto. It appears Realmuto will get a bulk of the work, but Salty still will get his chances. If Salty can get on track, it will help the team in the long run. The Marlins need contributions from their entire roster to contend.
No face guard for Stanton?
During the Atlanta series at Turner Field, Giancarlo Stanton shed the face guard for the first time. He did so because the Braves had a left-hander on the mound. It's a big first step, because it moves Stanton further away from his terrible injury, where he received multiple facial fractures after being struck by a pitch last September. Stanton is comfortable enough against certain left-handers to not wear the mask. For now, he's wearing it against right-handers. I wouldn't be surprised if Stanton stops wearing the guard completely by the All-Star break. Keep in mind, the slugger had some dental work done just a few days before Spring Training started in February. So he is not taking any chances facing right-handers who may test him up and in.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.