PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a franchise record-setting May has set up the Marlins nicely to keep rolling in June.
The Marlins went 21-8 in May, setting a club record for wins in any month.
The road ahead could be more challenging, with a three-game set starting on Friday at Philadelphia, followed by a homestand with the Braves, Rays and Red Sox.
"The last two weeks and last month, we're playing good teams," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Teams over .500. San Francisco, they have one of the best pitching staffs. We've played Cleveland. We've played Atlanta, Washington. I don't think we've had an easy team yet."
Staying level, the manager notes, will be pivotal.
"Don't get too high, don't get too low," Guillen said. "Show up every day with the same attitude, same enthusiasm. Make every pitch and every at-bat count -- that's how you survive in this game, no matter who is on the mound. No matter how we play. Good teams are going to compete against good teams. Every month that goes by, the harder it's going to get."
Miami's rotation set tone for successful May
PHILADELPHIA -- If starting pitching indeed sets the tone, it is easy to see why the Marlins had an historic May.
Miami went 21-8, setting a franchise record for victories in a month.
Of course, there was some timely hitting throughout the month, especially from Giancarlo Stanton, who belted 12 homers and drove in 30 runs in May.
But it was the starting pitching that lead the way, going 15-7 with a 3.53 ERA.
"I think the biggest reason we are where we are is because of our starters," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's not doubt. Our starters make our bullpen look good. Maybe a few games we've had to overwork our bullpen, but I think our starters have meant a lot."
The 15 wins were the most by any rotation in the National League, and only the Dodgers' collective ERA of 3.36 was better than Miami's ERA.
"We've pitched well," Guillen said.
Guillen feels his rotation has stacked up with everyone in the NL.
"We don't have anybody missing games," he said. "We don't have anybody that we have to give a day for missing a start. That means a lot to for us."
Miami's rotation threw 188 2/3 innings, matching the Phillies for the most in the NL in the month. And there were two complete games, which also matched the high of any team.
"If you don't have good starters in baseball right now, you're going to have problems winning games," Guillen said. "If your starters do what they're supposed to do, you're going to have a chance."
Ozzie giving Buck long rope to reverse slump
PHILADELPHIA -- John Buck will receive every opportunity to ride out the rough times at the plate.
The Marlins catcher, who went 2-for-25 in the 10-game homestand that ended Thursday, has the backing of manager Ozzie Guillen.
"The only way he's not going to hit is sitting next to me," Guillen said. "Then he's got no chance."
Already this season, Guillen showed a commitment to closer Heath Bell and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton when they were respectively scuffling.
"Same way with Bell. Same way we do with everybody," Guillen said. "Stanton was struggling early. Go play. The only way to come out [of the slump] is play and try to get out as quick as you can. As long as he's here, he'll play."
Buck is hitting .164 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He ended an 0-for-26 slide a few days ago.
"I've gone through the stage of being hard on myself for where I'm at," Buck said. "I've come to terms, I've stunk. I'm going to own the average I have right now. The thing is, I know it has zero affect if I get a hit today or not."
Buck understands things can turn around at any time. Rather than dwell, he's focused on getting quality at-bats on the day he's playing.
About two weeks ago, Buck came in early and worked with Andre Dawson, a team special assistant, as well as hitting coach Eduardo Perez.
"Hawk called me early one day," Buck said of the conversation with Dawson. "He said, 'Show up to the field.' I was, 'Who is this?' 'It's Hawk.' I was like, 'All right, I'll be there.'
"I showed up, worked with him, worked my legs a little peace of mind. I've felt from there, I've really had better at-bats, walks."
A major reason Buck is in the lineup is because of the way he's handled the pitching staff.
Guillen is blunt in his assessment of Buck's hitting.
"Very bad," the manager said. "Just being honest. He's a little lost at the plate. We're working today on little things. He continues to work. But it seem likes he's worried too much, thinking too much. He should be, 'See the ball, hit the ball.' We work early on hitting.
"I think he's a way better hitter than he's showing right now. I wish he had a little more patience. But I was in the same situation. When you're not getting hits, then you go crazy. You change everything. All of a sudden, you forgot the basics of the game. He's going to play, no matter what. He wishes he can help us offensively, too."
MetroPCS newest Marlins Park retail offering
PHILADELPHIA -- Marlins Park is home to more than just baseball.
All along, part of the planning for the building was to provide other retail outlets. Now, the fourth and final retail shop on the West Plaza is open.
When fans head to Marlins Park on Tuesday for the opening of the Marlins' meeting with the Braves, they will see a MetroPCS store.
MetroPCS now has a storefront at Marlins Park as part of a long-term retail and promotional partnership with the Marlins.
The vision for the West Plaza is to be more than an entrance area for the retractable-roof building.
The retail shops are making the West Plaza an urban center in Little Havana.
MetroPCS joins three other retail outlets, La Baguette, Holiday Bakery and YoBlendz. The West Plaza is open to the public year-round. There is a large video screen, and local residents can stop by the West Plaza and watch the game from outside the building.
All West Plaza shops are open during regular work hours. The MetroPCS store at Marlins Park is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET, and Sunday from 12-5 p.m.
On game days, MetroPCS will remain open at least one hour after the first pitch.