It’s time! Opening Day gets season rolling

MIAMI — At last, a blog post that counts.

All the offseason hype and Spring Training buildup is over.

All the talk, banter, bold predictions can be thrown out the window. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET today, it’s all about action, not words.

Opening Day has arrived for the Miami Marlins. They take on the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Those planning to attend are advised to arrive early. Gates open for season ticket holders at 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. in general. The four main parking garages are expected to fill up fast, so allow yourself time to park and get ready for the first pitch.

The Marlins enter 2015 with high hopes. They’re focused on making the playoffs, and appear to have the pieces to play deep into October. Starting today, however, they have to prove it. Just like every other club. Yes, that includes the Nationals, a team many are saying can sleep walk their way into the postseason.

Talking a good game no longer cuts it if the performance doesn’t back it up. All the analytics, projected WARs and preseason odds mean nothing at this point.

Legendary boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer will handle player introductions today. But in the words of Michael’s half-brother, Bruce Buffer, we can safely say: “It’s Time!”

The Marlins basically have been ready for Opening Day since the last week of Spring Training. They’re hungry. Focused. Most importantly, they are in good health, which is key.

Here’s some random thoughts entering 2015:

* The Marlins were no-hit by Jordan Zimmermann at Washington in the 2014 finale. So that means, their last hit came in the ninth inning of Game 161 on Sept. 27. Justin Bour singled in the ninth off Drew Storen. Miami did score a run that day. So they enter the season with a nine inning scoreless streak.

* Before the first pitch today at Marlins Park, fifth starter Jarred Cosart will be throwing a simulated game at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Cosart, who makes his first regular season start on Saturday against the Rays, is expected to be done in time to be at Marlins Park for the first pitch.

* Triple-A New Orleans added some bullpen depth as right-hander Nick Masset has agreed to pitch for the Zephyrs. Masset, an non-roster invitee in Spring Training, was released on March 31. He decided to remain in the organization.

* New Orleans should be strong in the Pacific Coast League. The Zephyrs projected regulars are: Justin Bour 1B, J.T. Realmuto/Jhonatan Solano C, Reid Brignac 2B, Miguel Rojas SS, Derek Dietrich 3B, Cole Gillespie LF, Austin Wates CF, Jordany Valdespin RF.

During the season, Brignac and Rojas will move around from second, third and short. Dietrich will play some second and first.

Zephyrs rotation will include Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena, Adam Conley, Andre Rienzo and Pat Misch.

* Jose Fernandez should start facing hitters in about a month, and he should be ready around mid-season.

Joe Frisaro

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