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Lineup support keeps Stanton thriving

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

NEW YORK -- How many home runs Giancarlo Stanton ends up with may ultimately come down to how much protection he gets in the Marlins' lineup. Without support, opponents may eventually start pitching around the 27-year-old, who leads the Major Leagues with 44 homers.

"If they choose to totally not pitch to him, we have other guys who can do damage," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That really doesn't concern me, that part of it."

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NEW YORK -- How many home runs Giancarlo Stanton ends up with may ultimately come down to how much protection he gets in the Marlins' lineup. Without support, opponents may eventually start pitching around the 27-year-old, who leads the Major Leagues with 44 homers.

"If they choose to totally not pitch to him, we have other guys who can do damage," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That really doesn't concern me, that part of it."

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Stanton had his string of six straight games with a home run snapped on Wednesday in Miami's 8-1 win over the Giants at Marlins Park, but he remains the hottest slugger in the game.

Since July 5, Stanton has 23 home runs in 36 games.

Mattingly is confident Stanton can keep rolling, as long as Christian Yelich, All-Star Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto, who are hitting behind him, chip in at the plate.

"Ozuna has been good," Mattingly said. "Yeli has probably not been as good as he can be, but he's still been good. Realmuto has been good."

Mattingly compared Stanton's hot streak to when Mark McGwire was crushing home runs in the 1990s.

"The thing about Giancarlo is, he's a little bit like Big Mac was when he was rolling along," Mattingly said. "You felt like you can get him out, if you make pitches. He strikes out enough. He swings and misses enough that you think, 'If we can get the ball here or there, we can get this guy.'

"Then the danger comes. The danger in that, if you don't get to your spots, he's been making them pay."

Worth noting

• Third baseman Martin Prado, who had surgery on his right knee on July 28, continues to do range of motion and strengthening exercises. If the 33-year-old, who has been limited to a .250 average with two homers and 12 RBIs in 37 games, returns this season, it may not be until the final few weeks.

"I'd love to have him back on the field before the season ends," Mattingly said. "I think that would be good for him, from the standpoint of you walk into your winter, knowing that you've played, and you're into a regular baseball offseason, instead of feeling you're rehabbing in the offseason. I'm not sure how Martin feels about that, but for me, I'd like to see him get back on the field."

• First baseman Justin Bour, on the DL since July 25 with a right oblique strain, is scheduled to start baseball activities next week.

Wei-Yin Chen, out with left elbow discomfort, threw 30 pitches in two innings in a simulated game on Friday.

• Reliever Jarlin Garcia, sidelined with a left biceps strain, is with the club and is lined up to throw a bullpen session on Saturday. If all goes well, Garcia could be reinstated on Tuesday at Philadelphia.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton