MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Three up, three down: Marlins open strong

Three up, three down: Marlins open strong

UP: Miami Marlins

The season is only a week old, but the South Florida baseball fans have had plenty to cheer about. The Marlins had 35,188 fans at Marlins Stadium on Saturday night, the fourth-largest crowd in the stadium's history, to see ace Jose Fernandez. He didn't disappoint, winning his second game of the season and improving his all-time home-field record to 11-0. Fernandez has walked just two, struck out 17 and has given up eight hits in 12 2/3 innings.

The Marlins finished the week sitting atop the National League East thanks to a 5-2 start. They have scored 42 runs already, a mark it took 19 games for them to reach last year, and lead the Majors in runs scored while hitting .294, second to only the Rockies.

Giancarlo Stanton is the big name; he unloaded the longest home run in the history of Marlins Park on Friday night in an 8-2 victory over San Diego. But he's one of only five Marlins regulars hitting better than .300, including Casey McGehee (.375) and Adeiny Hechavarria (.393). And the bullpen has allowed just one run in 22 1/3 innings.

DOWN: Boston Red Sox

It's not just that the defending World Series champion Red Sox are 2-4 to open the season. It's that they were swept in their first three games at Fenway Park by a Milwaukee Brewers team looking to solve its only puzzle (Ryan Braun's .150 average and no extra-base hits). Boston welcomed Texas to town on Monday, looking to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since the 2012 season. The Red Sox are 14-29 against the Rangers since the start of 2009, their worst record against any team in that stretch.

If it's not one thing, it's another that is undermining a hot start for the Sox. Four regulars are hitting below .215 -- Grady Sizemore (.214), Jonny Gomes (.167), A.J. Pierzynski (.125) and Daniel Nava (.115) -- and two others, Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks, are on the disabled list. The four struggling bats combined for 11 strikeouts, four hits and four walks in 41 plate appearances against Milwaukee.

The Red Sox find themselves 14th in the American League with 19 runs scored. And the pitching staff not only gave up 17 runs in the three games, but five of those were scored in the 10 innings the bullpen worked.

UP: Seattle Mariners

With two of their expected starting pitchers on the disabled list, plus a schedule that has them facing their division rivals in 22 of the first 25 games of the season and their entire first week spent on the road, the Mariners woke up Monday morning sitting atop the AL West. They have won two of three against both the Angels and the A's.

Felix Hernandez has set the pace by winning both of his starts, but don't overlook rookie James Paxton, who shut out the Halos for seven innings of his 2014 debut. The relievers who remained after Hector Noesi was removed from the roster provided strong support, allowing one earned run in 15 2/3 innings.

Robinson Cano is off to a .391 start, helping take pressure off the young bats, while Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley have combined for 14 RBIs. The Mariners are tied for third in the AL with 34 runs scored.

DOWN: Kansas City Royals

Yes, the Royals did take two of three from the White Sox over the weekend, but that came after losing two in Detroit, where they opened the season hoping to make an early statement against the defending AL Central champions.

Kansas City ranks last in the AL with 16 runs scored; the Royals have had four quality starts, but the only starting pitcher to win a game was Jeremy Guthrie, who gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-5 win over the White Sox.

Mike Moustakas has gone hitless in 15 at-bats, a letdown considering the excitement created by a spring in which he hit .444 with four home runs and 18 RBIs. Shortstop Alcides Escobar is just 1-for-17. The Royals are the only team without a home run this season.

UP: San Francisco Giants

The Giants' rotation is not what it used to be, but the lineup has offset those problems in helping San Francisco step ahead of the rest of the NL West. The Giants lead the Majors in home runs with 11, including four from Brandon Belt, and they are second in runs scored with 40.

And Pablo Sandoval (.148) and Hunter Pence (.138) haven't been factors yet.

But then, San Francisco hasn't got much out of the rotation threesome of Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, who have allowed 15 earned runs in 21 innings. The lack of depth from the rotation has forced the bullpen to work 22 innings in seven games.

DOWN: Arizona Diamondbacks

Despite two of the hottest hitters in baseball, the D-backs are sitting at the bottom of the NL West, having equaled the worst start in franchise history (2-7). But then an NL-worst 6.15 ERA doesn't provide a lot of promise.

Wade Miley has been the bright spot in the rotation. He has both of the wins, against San Francisco and at Colorado last week. The four other starters are a combined 0-4 in six starts.

The big bats in the offense are doing their job. Offseason addition Mark Trumbo leads the Majors with five home runs, including one in each of his last four games. Paul Goldschmidt not only has hit safely in all nine games this year, but also hit safely in the final 19 games last year, giving him a 28-game hitting streak, 10 games shy of the longest multiseason hitting streak since the creation of the Major Leagues in 1903.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.