Marlins' gap hitters delivering at spacious park
MIAMI -- Marlins Park, with its large dimensions and high outfield wall, is not ideally suited to produce an abundance of home runs. Still, the building can work to hitters' advantage, with the right approach.
In constructing the 2014 roster, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff sought players who could work the park to their advantage.
Finding potential home run hitters wasn't the objective. The club sought run producers, and if meant they hit doubles, so be it.
That's why Miami signed free agents Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones and Jeff Baker. These are veterans capable of capitalizing on the big gaps.
The Marlins entered Sunday leading the Majors with 18 doubles. The also ranked first in runs scored with 40.
"The thing is the guys are taking what they're given," manager Mike Redmond said. "Casey is not over-swinging. How many times has he just hit a base hit up the middle to score a run? That's the key. We don't need homers. We don't need the ball to go into the seats. We just need hits. Whether that be doubles, singles or whatever. We'll take it."
The Marlins finished last in the Majors in doubles a year ago.
"I think guys are feeling good," Redmond said. "They're confident. Guys are going out there and they're having great at-bats."
The general feeling is the club should focus on line drives, which can turn into doubles at home, and on the road, the same approach should account for more home runs.
"I wouldn't say I'm surprised," Redmond said of the offense. "But is it great to see? Absolutely. These guys have worked hard. We've talked about the character of this ballclub. It's only been a few games, but it is fun to see these guys work together and pick each other up. They're helping each other out with pitches. Guys are helping out who know the pitchers. I like the team atmosphere right now.
"But pitching is the key. It gives us a chance, but it's fun to see us go out there and swing the bats."