PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins are still thinking about how their rotation will set up this weekend against Washington. But the fact is that, even though they'd love to beat the Nationals and play spoiler, their goal over these final two weeks is to get a feel for the future of the franchise.
"When we talked about [Jose Fernandez] being shut down, we said it was an opportunity for some of the younger guys to step up," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's what we're doing. We're evaluating guys and seeing what they can do. I've been around young guys that make you realize that, when they first come up, they aren't really themselves. We're getting to see these guys all year, and as we go on and move forward, we have a good feel for what they are capable of."
At the same time, the Marlins travel to Washington for a four-game series against a team desperately fighting for a playoff spot. The Marlins have struggled against the Nationals this year, going 4-11 without a win in Nationals Park.
"They are in a situation where they have to win," Redmond said. "That's just where they are at. As much as we have had troubles with them, it would be nice to go in there and win some games. To win a series would be really nice."
Pierre in awe of being mentioned with DiMaggio
PHILADELPHIA -- As he stood on second base during a 6-4 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday night, Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre took a moment to ask Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins for a favor.
Pierre's pinch-hit double in the seventh inning was his 2,215th career hit. It put him in a tie for 175th place all-time with Joe DiMaggio -- who after some research was awarded an extra hit by Elias Sports Bureau earlier in the day -- and Pierre wanted the ball as a keepsake. Rollins obliged and Pierre tossed the ball into the visitor's dugout as both forgot one very important aspect of the situation: There was a game being played.
"I was like 'J-Roll, let me get that ball," said Pierre, who played with the Phillies in 2012 and grounded out as a pinch-hitter in Wednesday's 4-3 win in 10 innings. "He actually gave it to me. I threw it over the dugout. Nobody had called timeout yet and I was on the base. I think it's the first time I've thrown a live ball into foul territory on purpose.
"Somebody in the dugout, I think it was Tom Koehler told me it was a live ball. It was cool. I got the ball."
Pierre is nearing the end of his 14th season and has a genuine respect, not only for the game but for those that came before him. The veteran talked about never expecting to hear his name in the same breath as DiMaggio, and he's looked to help some of his younger teammates understand the game's history.
"I don't think some of these guys know exactly who DiMaggio was," Pierre said. "Especially being so young. But they all came up and congratulated me, so that's cool."
Pierre has also come to accept his role with the Marlins. In this his second stint with the franchise, Pierre hasn't started consecutive games since June 21 and 22. His last 31 plate appearances have all been as a pinch-hitter, and he's done surprisingly well, hitting .300 (9-for-30) with three doubles.
"I don't even want to talk about it," Pierre said of his success as a pinch-hitter. "It's amazing, because like you said I haven't done it much. It's being a little more aggressive. I've always been a patient hitter, taking pitches, working the count. Now, I'm facing a reliever that's not going to throw more than one inning, and it's being aggressive and trying to find some holes."
• Ed Lucas is hitting .321 (17-for-53) in September after going 2-for-5 in Wednesday's 4-3 win, including the go-ahead home run in the 10th inning -- the fourth of his career. The Marlins infielder has hit safely in nine of 10 games and has seven doubles in 14 games.
• Steve Cishek pitched in Wednesday's game, his first appearance since he recorded his 30th save of the season on Sept. 14 against the Mets. The 27-year old closer can only work with what he's given, and he has converted each of his last 26 opportunities, which is also the second longest in club history behind Todd Jones' 27 straight in 2005.
He loaded the bases on an error, a hit and an intentional walk with one out in the 10th, but got a strikeout and ground out to earn his 31st save.
Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.