A pretty cool thing happened during Monday night's Marlins-Rockies game. The two teams combined to hit eight solo home runs, adding up to a 5-3 score. That marked the first time in Major League Baseball's long history that so many runs had scored in one game entirely via solo shots.

Unfortunately for the Marlins, their pitchers were the ones who gave up five bombs. Miami then followed Monday's taterfest by losing to the Braves in extra innings on Tuesday, squandering seven shutout innings by Jose Fernandez.

All of this puts the Marlins in an interesting spot. Even after those back-to-back losses, Miami sits only one game behind the Mets in the race for the National League's second wild-card spot. On the other hand, the rotation has struggled during the past month ... and looked downright awful outside of Jose Fernandez.

That leaves the Fish with one of baseball's toughest decisions over the next few weeks: Push their chips into the middle of the table and try to swing a big deal for one or more starting pitchers, or accept that the team might not have enough talent to make a run at the pennant regardless, and stand pat.

Miami's problems start with Wei-Yin Chen. The 30-year-old left-hander inked a five-year, $80 million contract during the winter to come play for the Marlins, marking the biggest free-agent contract in franchise history.

Chen has largely failed to live up to expectations this year for Miami. USATSI

The biggest surprise in Monday's game, other than it breaking an all-time record, was that Chen wasn't the culprit. Only three other National League pitchers have surrendered home runs at a faster pace than Chen's 1.7 per 9 innings pitched. The lefty's past three starts have been especially nightmarish: In 13 2/3 innings, Chen has allowed 14 runs on 23 hits, including seven home runs. In his most recent start, Saturday against Colorado, the Rockies strafed him for six runs, knocking him out after 2 1/3 innings ... but hey, at least they didn't go yard off him that time.

Wei-Yin Chen

Chen isn't alone in making life difficult for the Marlins. Adam Conley has been a replacement-level pitcher during the past month, posting a 4.64 ERA and walking about five batters per nine innings. Justin Nicolino's 5.17 ERA for the season is the 11th-highest in the NL for any starter with as many innings pitched; that high ERA is well earned, with Nicolino missing fewer bats than any other starter in the league. Adding insult to injury, we recently learned that the Marlins could have had Aaron Sanchez(!) or Noah Syndergaard(!) instead of Nicolino in the 2012 blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays.

What makes these ugly performances even more painful is the greatness they've largely cancelled out. Now back to 100 percent after Tommy John surgery, Jose Fernandez is making his case for the best pitcher who isn't Kershaw award, ranking among the league leaders in nearly every major statistical category. His performance during the past month has reached another level, though. In his past six starts, Fernandez has allowed only 23 hits in 40 innings, with a 1.35 ERA. His strikeout-to-walk rate over that span? 56-to-4.

Jose Fernandez

There's more. Marcell Ozuna has shaken off his petulant owner's 2015 attempts to exile him to Siberia, batting a team-best .321/.373/.565 in a huge bounceback season. His outfield running mate Christian Yelich has emerged as one of the most disciplined hitters in the league, batting .316 with a .404 on-base percentage. Catcher J.T. Realmuto and first baseman Justin Bour have also posted better-than-average offensive numbers, on a park-adjusted basis. Ichiro Suzuki recently made headlines by posting a Japan-plus-MLB hit total that surpassed Pete Rose's all-time mark. In fact, the only worse-than-average hitter in this year's lineup has been Adeiny Hechavarria ... and he consistently ranks as one of the best defensive shortstops in the league.

Marcell Ozuna
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Given all of those strong performances, coupled with Giancarlo Stanton already starting to break out of his prolonged slump, the Fish could indeed be a legitimate playoff contender ... all the more so if they can upgrade the rotation. The question is: How will they do it? According to FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, the Marlins contacted the Rays to inquire about young right-hander Jake Odorizzi, a pitcher who would likely give the rotation an immediate upgrade, and also offer three more years of club control beyond this season. It's just not clear if the Marlins have the prospects to make a big trade happen. According to ESPN.com's Keith Law, Miami came into this season with the second-worst farm system in baseball ... making prime trade bait tough to find within the organization.

One intriguing possibility could revolve around Dee Gordon's return. The All-Star second baseman is due to finish his 80-game suspension for PED use on July 28. With Martin Prado and Derek Dietrich both ranking among the league leaders in batting average and OBP, the Fish could essentially have three plus players on the roster and only two lineup spots -- second base and third -- to offer them.

An offense-hungry contending team could have interest in any of the three players. Prado's a free agent at year's end, meaning he would leave the team that acquires him with all the payroll flexibility it could want thereafter. Dietrich can't test the open market until after the 2020 season, and has quietly emerged as a valuable on-base hound. Meanwhile, Gordon creates a dilemma, since his suspension precludes him from playing in this year's playoffs. But he's also arguably the most talented player of the three, players like Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera have shown that putting up numbers after PED suspensions is quite doable, and Gordon is affordably signed through 2020, with a club option for 2021. Finding a match with a team that plans to contend either now or in the near future, with a surplus of pitching and a dearth of hitting at either second or third base, is asking for a lot of specific conditions to fall into place. Then again, it only takes one trade partner to make that kind of scenario work.

In the meantime, the Marlins face an odd dilemma. They're a team with an above-average offense that could get markedly better if and when their best player starts turning some of those copious strikeouts into home runs. They're a better-than-average defensive team with a capable bullpen and a pitcher who might be one of the five best on the planet. But three out of every five days, they're a big threat to lose, thanks to a rotation that's full of arsonists.

If Miami truly fancies itself a contender, pulling a big deal out of the hat might be more than a nice touch -- it might be a necessity.