Marlins hitters ready for when teams walk Stanton
MIAMI -- No matter the opponent, all the scouting reports about the Marlins say the same thing: Don't let Giancarlo Stanton beat you.
The Mariners were trying to avoid just that scenario on Friday night. They intentionally walked the Miami slugger twice. When they didn't, Stanton made them pay. The 24-year-old collected three hits, drove in five runs and ended the night with a walk-off grand slam in Miami's 8-4 win.
Heading into the series, Stanton had been intentionally walked just once. Manager Mike Redmond expects more intentional passes as the season progresses.
"It will be interesting to see as we go forward, I know we talk a lot about them walking him," Redmond said. "We really haven't seen that out of any other team. We'll see if that is going to be a trend and that will continue. Or teams in our division will still pitch to him. We'll see. That will be something we have to monitor going forward."
A major threat from the moment he was called up at age 20 on June 8, 2010, Stanton right now is blossoming into the all-around offensive threat many envisioned.
Quite frankly, in the past, teams knew they could pitch to Stanton. That's evident by how much he has been intentionally walked in his young career.
As a rookie in 2010, he was intentionally walked just six times. In the seasons that followed, the numbers were about the same -- six (2011), nine ('12) and five ('13). A year ago, that was less than Greg Dobbs, who was intentionally walked a team-high six times.
When teams do try to pitch around Stanton, the rest of the lineup has to step up. Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been hitting behind Stanton. At the top of the order in front of Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna have been getting on base.
"We've got to get guys in scoring position, but the guys behind him are going to have to get the job done," Redmond said. "That's the big thing. We've got to get guys on, and we can't rely on him to get all the big hits."
Stanton said Friday he is aware he could be getting the Barry Bonds treatment. But he was more upset at himself for his second-inning error that led to two unearned runs scoring.
"I got walked twice after it, but it was definitely in my mind the whole time," Stanton said of wanting to atone for his mistake. "Not distracting me, but more as a duty. If I get a chance to win this game, I better do it.
"I knew this game was going to be won or lost because of me. Good thing we came out on the higher side."
Why teams can't automatically put Stanton on base all the time is because Yelich has been getting on base.
"That's your job, when you hit at the top of the order, get on base and for the big guys behind you," Yelich said. "Especially when you've got a guy like Stanton, who is going the way he is right now. Get on base and give him an opportunity and great things are going to happen."