As the Miami Marlins began their nine-game road trip this past Tuesday, Marlins manager Don Mattingly told reporters that his club needs to find more ways to score runs.
With the interleagueseries being played under American League rules, Mattingly will have the luxury of one more hitter in his lineup to help his offense that ranks fourth in the National League and seventh in MLB in batting average.
Getting on base hasn’t been the issue for Miami this season. It’s been trying to drive the runs in. Despite their surprising batting average numbers, the Marlins had entered the series with the Twins ranked 25th out of 30 Major League teams in runs scored on the season.
“I think that’s one of the areas we can improve on,” Mattingly told Dan Myers of MLB.com. “Being able to take the guys that were getting on base and getting a few more of them in and having a little bit better approach with men in scoring position, making sure we’re staying patient and knowing what we want to do with guys that we’re facing.“
Luckily for the Marlins, they have options to help fill the run producing spots in the lineup.
On Tuesday, it was the recently struggling Giancarlo Stanton who was in the clean up spot. Stanton began the season by batting fourth in 42 of the teams first 45 games, but he was in the clean up slot Tuesday for only the second time in the past 12 games.
Stanton entered that night with 12 homers and 27 RBIs, yet he has only been hitting .110 with two homers and three RBIs in his previous 21 games that has spanned 84 plate appearances.
“More of a feeling than anything today,” Mattingly said. “We’ll probably still do a little bit of mixing and matching with Marcell Ozuna and him, but today, I felt like four was going to be the spot for him.“
While Stanton has been working hard to get his season back on track, its been Ozuna who has been the player that has seen the majority of the time in the clean-up spot over the last two weeks.
As of now, Ozuna leads the Marlins with 29 RBIs and he’s only a homer shy of Stanton, but it’s been Ozuna’s consistency that the Marlins have been able to stay above .500 during Stanton’s struggles. Ozuna is hitting .341 with five homers and 12 RBIs since May 4.
“Marcell has given us a really good option in the 3-4 hole or 4-5 hole for us,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly Impressed by Yelich
Plus another option for Mattingly is Christian Yelich, who has kept the scorching end to his 2015 season alive through the first several months of this season. Yelich’s batting average hasn’t been below .300 since the beginning of the regular season, and it has been between .315 and .330 since early May.
The knowledge of Yelich’s second half of last season made its way to Mattingly after he was named manager of the Miami Marlins back in November, and yet Mattingly is still impressed by his continual success.
“I thought he was a really good hitter when I came over here,” Mattingly said. “He’s a really good hitter and he’s only gonna get better and better as he continues to grow and improve.”