WASHINGTON -- Jose Fernandez has had a more spectacular season.
But at least a few Marlins will tell you Giancarlo Stanton deserves consideration as the team’s most valuable player despite what has been, by his Herculean standards, a so-so year.
“Stanton’s the most valuable player, no question about it,” said outfielder Justin Ruggiano. “If you take him out of the lineup, this team is worse than we’ve been already.”
Said rookie infielder Ed Lucas: “I’d split it up, go with Jose and ‘G’ — Jose because he was dominant. And this lineup is completely different when you don’t have ‘G’ there.”
Stanton, who missed five weeks with a hamstring injury, has hit 23 homers and driven in 55 runs — huge drop-offs from last season when he hit 37 home runs and drove in 86.
“I’m not taking anything away from Jose,” Ruggiano said. “He’s definitely been our most valuable pitcher. He’s probably Rookie of the Year. He deserves all that. But who’s more valuable to this team for 162 games? Who is more important to this team for 162 games?”
Ruggiano said the answer is a no-brainer. Ruggiano said the lack of support around Stanton in the lineup must be taken into consideration when looking at his overall numbers.
“The way I got pitched when he wasn’t in the lineup was if I was him, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody,” Ruggiano said, laughing. “I just know that being in the lineup when Stanton wasn’t there was a lot more difficult for me to hit than when he is there.
“He’s having a bad year, but he’s having a bad year for what he expects out of himself. You want to switch numbers? Give me his numbers right now and I’ll take ’em. I’m having the worst year I’ve ever had, too.”
Ruggiano said shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is also worthy of team MVP consideration, too, for his defense alone.
“The guy has saved so many runs this year and provided such stable defense,” Ruggiano said of Hechavarria. “He made the hard plays look easy on an everyday basis.”
Lucas said Stanton commands attention when he’s in the lineup.
“We are a completely different team with ‘G’ not in the lineup,” Lucas said.
Steve Cishek knows he doesn’t bring a menacing presence to the mound, unlike some scowling closers. That doesn’t mean he lacks a killer instinct, though.
“I’m not going in there and trying to mean-mug people,” the Marlins’ 26-year-old closer said. “My face looks like I’m about to cry all the time anyways, so that’s not the goal. But when I go in there, I have a lot of adrenalin pumping.”
Obviously, something’s working.
Cishek has successfully converted his past 25 save opportunities, one shy of Todd Jones’ 2005 team record and the longest current streak in the majors.
“I just go in there and try to fill up the zone, and let them try to get themselves out,” Cishek said.
Cishek’s last blown save was June 4 in Philadelphia.
The Marlins and Nationals will play a day-night doubleheader Sunday after Saturday’s game was postponed following a rain delay of 3 hours 46 minutes.
Tom Koehler will start the first game for the Marlins, which is set to begin at 1:35 p.m. Brian Flynn will take the mound for Miami in the second game, which is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
• Sunday (doubleheader): Game 1 — Marlins RHP Koehler (3-10, 4.51 ERA) at Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96), 1:35 p.m., Nationals Park.; Game 2 — Marlins LHP Flynn (0-2, 9.64 ERA) at Washington Nationals RHP Dan Haren (9-13, 4.88), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.
• Scouting report: The Marlins play their final road game of the season Sunday in the same spot where their season started, Nationals Park.