Much attention has been directed toward the struggles of the Marlins' offense through this season gone awry.

There may be cause for greater concern about the decline of the starting rotation. With ace Josh Johnson out since May with shoulder inflammation, Marlins starters have slipped to 14th in the National League with an ERA of 4.52. They rank ahead of only the Astros and Cubs.

Can Johnson be counted on to take the ball on Opening Day in the new ballpark next April 4 against the Cardinals? He has yet to make it through a full season since signing a four-year, $39 million deal in early 2010.

Veteran right-hander Javier Vazquez has been the most reliable starter in Johnson's absence. His contract is expiring, and he has hinted at retirement. The other veterans have all taken steps back this season, particularly in the second half.

Ricky Nolasco can be lights out, but too often gets lit up. He was 6-5 with a 3.70 ERA before the All-Star break, 3-4, 5.96 since. Anibal Sanchez is 1-4, 5.05 after a 6-2, 3.58 start. Chris Volstad is 0-3, 5.82 in three starts since returning from Triple-A. Clay Hensley is 1-3, 6.29 as a stop-gap.