With a new stadium, new manager and nearly doubled payroll, optimism was abound in Miami at the start of the season. Following a 8-14 start in April and Ozzie Guillen angering the local Cubans, though, that excitement was quickly tempered.
The Marlins bounced back in May, but struggled after and limped to a 41-44 record despite being outscored by 56 runs. Their struggles so far earned them the third spot on Rob Neyer's list of the top five most disappointing teams in baseball.
The biggest culprits? First baseman Gaby Sanchez, who's been sent to the minors; and high-priced closer Heath Bell, who's (finally) been demoted to a less critical role. But it's not just those guys. High-priced shortstop Jose Reyes hasn't done much, and high-priced third baseman Hanley Ramirez is doing little better than he did last year.
In a division that features the National League's best record at the top and two more teams well over the .500 mark, the Marlins have an uphill climb ahead of them if they hope to claw back in to contention following a disappointing first half to their 2012 season.
Stay with this StoryStream throughout the weekend for more updates on the Marlins series against first-place Washington. For more on the Marlins as they start the second half of the season, visit Fish Stripes. And for all your baseball news coming out of the All-Star break, visit Baseball Nation.