Giancarlo Stantons next home run his 35th will stamp his name in the record books.
Chances are, it wont be hit at Marlins Park.
Stanton, who has been on a power binge since returning from knee surgery, is one home run shy of recording the second-highest, single-season total in Marlins history. Gary Sheffield walloped 42 in 1996.
But Stanton has been doing almost all of the pounding on the road, from the Rocky Mountains to the Arizona desert, from the nations capital to the West Coast of California pretty much everywhere but South Florida.
Of his 15 blasts since Aug. 7, the day he returned from arthroscopic knee surgery, only one has been hit at Marlins Park, which is proving to be Death Valley for the long ball. Stanton has hit 14 homers in his 19 road contests since his return, but only one bomb in 15 games at home since then.
How many home runs has the new Marlins ballpark cost Stanton? He hasnt put a number on it, but he knows its had an effect, and not just on him.
You guys can figure those numbers out, Stanton said Wednesday before the Marlins returned to South Florida for a six-game homestand that opens Friday against Cincinnati. But its costing somebody, whether its me, someone on the other team, or someone on our team.
According to ESPNs MLB Park Factors, Marlins Park this season has been the 26th-most difficult place (out of 30 parks) to hit a home run, though its slightly above average in run scoring.
Marlins Park certainly has done Stanton no favors.
While Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez recognizes the ballparks suppressing effect on the home run, he also said its too early to brand it a power wasteland.
One year is a small sample size, Perez said. I think we have to look at a larger sample size of maybe two or three years. Is it a big ballpark? Yeah, it is. But there are a lot of variables.
Perez said that Stanton might have simply gotten hot right at the time the Marlins were beginning an 11-game road trip last month to Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles when he hit eight homers.
When he got hot after he came back, he got hot on that road trip, Perez said. Everything was clicking. He was hitting two-seamers and four-seamers. He was hitting curveballs and sliders. He was in that mode, whether or not he was at home. All of them would have been homers at our place except for maybe one at Dodger Stadium to straightaway center.
But, the instant the Marlins returned home, it was as if the valve had been shut off. Stanton hit only one home run during the 10-game homestand. Without a doubt, Stanton said Marlins Park has a chilling effect on homers.
Sitting inside the clubhouse on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Stanton remarked: You have a smooth swing here during batting practice and its going to the warning track even if you miss if. If you do that at home, its like [the shaggers] are running in for the ball.
Despite the handicap, Stanton has an outside chance of winning the National League home run title, something no Marlin has ever accomplished. His 34 homers rank second to Ryan Brauns 38. But Braun plays half of his games in the majors most conducive ballpark for homers Miller Park in Milwaukee according to the ESPN stats.
Stanton homers with greater frequently than Braun, but missed a months worth of games while recovering from surgery.
You can always look back and say I missed a month, Stanton said. But what can you do about it, really? Its uncontrollable, in my view.
Stanton has cooled somewhat in September, swinging at bad pitches and striking out with alarming frequency. While he homered four times on the just-completed road trip to Washington and Philadelphia, he also whiffed 13 times, a fact that frustrates him. Stanton wants to become a complete hitter, not just a one-dimensional slugger.
Awful, terrible, Stanton said of his recent struggles. If I wasnt hitting home runs, it would be brutal.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (0-2, 5.29 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds RHP Bronson Arroyo (12-7, 3.66), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins LHP Mark Buehrle (12-12, 3.74) vs. Reds RHP Johnny Cueto (17-8, 2.71), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: After an off day Thursday, the Marlins on Friday open a three-game series against the only National League team yet to visit Marlins Park. The Marlins have not seen the Reds since early April, when they lost two out of three games in Cincinnati.