Slowly but surely, the Marlins are getting healthy and Mike Redmond's bunch is reaping the benefits.
Miami has amassed a 9-8 record over its last 17 contests, and the returns of Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and Nathan Eovaldi have helped the cause.
"I'm excited," the first-year skipper said. "For so long we played with a lot of guys injured, now we're getting those guys back. It was a little dicey those first few months, but at the same time I was still pleased with their effort. Over the last 10 days though, our confidence has really increased. You're seeing a lot of guys contribute. So like I've said, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. We still have a lot of season left but I'm happy with the confidence the guys are bringing to the ballpark every day."
The Marlins will face a daunting task this weekend when they travel to AT&T Park for a four-game set against the reigning champion Giants. Redmond is embracing this challenge, just as he did the struggle of playing at less than full strength for the season's first two months.
"Of course I wish we would've started the season with the guys we thought we'd have -- I'd be crazy to say no," Redmond said. "The first two months were tough but you got to see what guys are made of. The results have taken a while to show up but this is a fun team to watch."
The Giants are dealing with their own slew of injuries. Outfielder Angel Pagan, out since May 25 with a strained left hamstring, is slated to start a rehab assignment on Thursday. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, battling a strained left foot, is scheduled to initiate a rehab assignment on Saturday. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is doubtful for Thursday's contest after he sprained his right index and middle fingers.
Marlins: Koehler seeking first win
• In search of his first career victory, Tom Koehler will take the hill on Thursday. He surrendered nine runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Cardinals in his previous outing. This season, Koehler has compiled an 0-5 record and 5.09 ERA. Since joining the Marlins' rotation in mid-May, he has posted a 5.62 ERA and a 9.18 ERA in three June starts.
Giants: Gaudin to to the rubber
• The Marlins will tangle with Giants right-hander Chad Gaudin in Thursday's series opener by the Bay. Gaudin has compiled a 2-0 record and 4.24 ERA since joining the Giants' rotation at the start of the month. Overall, the 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA.
• The Marlins and Giants have yet to square off this season. The Marlins claimed five of their seven meetings with San Francisco last year.