Ozuna's stats pick up despite drop in order
MIAMI -- Hit him first or ninth or anywhere in between, Marcell Ozuna is happy.
"It doesn't matter. I said early in the season, I want to be in the lineup," Ozuna said. "If it is nine, after the pitcher, it doesn't matter. Just get up there, in the box, and see the ball, hit the ball, that's it."
The more basic Ozuna keeps things, the better.
Right now, the Marlins center fielder is delivering toward the bottom of the order. In the first two games of the series with the Braves, the 23-year-old has driven in five runs. He delivered a two-run single batting sixth on Tuesday night, and he followed that up with a three-run homer batting seventh on Wednesday.
Sliding down started on Tuesday when Ed Lucas was slotted second. Ozuna has 59 plate appearances hitting second, ahead of Giancarlo Stanton.
Ozuna did post some nice numbers, batting .308 with one homer and seven RBIs. In 28 plate appearances batting seventh, Ozuna is batting .346 with two homers and five RBIs.
"I think with young guys, you kind of go with how they're feeling, how their at-bats are," manager Mike Redmond said. "Sometimes moving them down in the order makes them relax more. And sometimes when they're going good, it doesn't matter where you put them. You put them up there and they get more fastballs and they're squaring everything up."
Ozuna, a free swinger, is offering power to the bottom of the order, which is making the lineup deeper.
He's also driving in his share of runs. With 16 RBIs, Ozuna is tied with Washington's Jayson Werth for the 10th most among National League outfielders. Stanton leads the league with 31 RBIs.
"We got to the point there with O, to get him down a little bit [to seventh]," Redmond said. "I felt he was putting too much pressure on himself, maybe over-thinking the spot in the order with Stanton coming up behind him. Sometimes moving guys down a bit gets them more relaxed."