Hanley's RBI run set up by top of order

Hanley's RBI run set up by top of order

MIAMI -- At the top of the Marlins' order, Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonifacio, batting first and second, respectively, are providing a one-two threat that is similar to Florida's 2003 World Series championship squad.

The way the duo has been getting on base the past 10 games draws comparisons to Florida's '03 title team, which had speedsters Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo setting the table for the middle of the lineup.

"We're definitely not as fast as those guys are, but I definitely feel we can get on base like those guys can," Coghlan said.

Bonifacio, actually, has more raw speed than the two former Marlins. But Coghlan, who runs well, isn't quite at that level.

The Marlins entered Thursday's off-day just a half-game behind the Phillies in the National League East standings. Much of the credit, of late, rightfully is going to Florida's superstar shortstop, Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez is in the midst of an historic run. Batting in the No. 3 spot, the 25-year-old shortstop has driven in at least one run in 10 straight games, the most ever by a NL shortstop.

Ramirez's streak is the longest by any big leaguer since Garret Anderson had an RBI in 12 straight games in 2007.

A main reason Ramirez is knocking in so many runs is because Coghlan and Bonifacio have been getting on base in front of him. Coghlan and Bonifacio have come home with 15 of the 24 runs Ramirez has plated since his streak began on June 21.

"It's good for Hanley, and having Hanley behind us is good for us, because we can score a lot of runs," Coghlan said. "He knocks us in. I don't even have to be on second base to be knocked in, because it's so easy for him to hit a double and me to score from [first]."

During Ramirez's streak, Coghlan is batting .278 with a .350 on-base percentage, scoring 10 runs.

Bonifacio, meanwhile, is riding a nine-game hitting streak of his own. In his impressive run, he's hitting .324 with a .368 on-base percentage. The speedster also has 10 runs scored.

"I'm more patient at the plate now," Bonifacio said. "Before, I was swinging at everything. Now, I'm ahead in the count more. Now, I'm seeing more pitches."

Because of his game-changing speed, the Marlins have shown great patience with Bonifacio, who has had his ups and downs. On the season, he's hitting .250 with a .297 on-base percentage and 44 runs scored.

"It's a long season. You just have got to continue to play hard," Bonifacio said.

The organization continues to build up Bonifacio because it feels he can be an impact player with his speed and defensive skills.

"They always have given me support. When I was struggling, they were always saying, 'Keep pushing, keep pushing,'" Bonifacio said. "Everybody here is helping me."

With runners on base, Ramirez is thriving. During his 10-game RBI string, he's 19-for-40 (.475) with a .523 on-base percentage, five home runs, five doubles, 10 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He's only struck out three times.

The hot streak has raised Ramirez's batting average to an NL-best .348.

Ramirez credits his teammates, especially the table setters in front of him.

"They are doing a good job getting on base," Ramirez said. "It's a team, not just me."

Coghlan has been a pleasant surprise since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans on May 8. Initially, he primarily batted second, but he's now solidified the leadoff spot, a position he'd never hit in before in the Minor Leagues.

"Being in that role, in every single at-bat, every single game, I'm learning something," Coghlan said. "The biggest thing is to choose when to be aggressive and when not to. It's a fine line. It depends on the pace of the game. Who's pitching? How many pitches have our guys thrown? Do we need rest?

"There are so many things that go into it that people don't realize. I didn't realize it, either. I'm learning on the fly. Hopefully, I'm making the right decisions and doing the right things."

In 49 games, Coghlan is hitting .262 with a .360 on-base percentage and 29 runs scored.

The 24-year-old rookie has overcome a slow start, and his numbers are picking up. He batted just .143 with a .260 on-base percentage from May 8-23.

Since then, in his past 34 games, he's hitting .302 with a .397 on-base percentage and 24 runs scored.

"In order to score runs, you've got to get on base," Coghlan said. "That's the most important thing, not your average. It's your on-base percentage. Any way you get on base is what matters.

"When you have a guy behind you like Hanley, who is a superstar, who can do anything at the plate, it makes it easier for you to score runs."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.