Jeff Baker has found his “zone,” but not the kind hitters relish.
Baker had two fly balls caught on the warning track Saturday in deep center, just in front of the 418-foot sign. They weren’t the first of his blasts to die in the deepest part of Marlins Park.
Baker has already had five fly balls caught there.
“It’s not fun,” said Baker, who brought an .091 average (3 for 33) into Sunday’s game. “I had one against Colorado and two against San Diego — same spot.”
Baker could think of only two other ballparks where those fly balls would not have carried for home runs, and one of those — the Polo Grounds — no longer exists. Houston, with its incline in center, is the other.
“It’s fine that you hit the ball that far and it’s not a homer,” Baker said. “But it’s got [to count] for a hit.”
Or so he wishes.
Baker is not yet leading the petition drive to have the fences at Marlins Park moved in to better accommodate his power. He said he knew when he signed with Miami that the park was big.
“But, at the same time, I thought if you hit it well, it was going to go still,” he said. “Obviously, I haven’t been on the right side of Marlins Park so far. I’ve hit the ball well. If I was scuffling and my at-bats were poor, I’d be pretty upset. But right now, there’s not a whole lot I can do. I’m just trying to keep rolling with it.”
Giancarlo Stanton said Baker’s long outs reminded him of one former player who kept hitting the ball to deep center, but to no avail.
“I just thought of John Buck in 2012,” Stanton said. “I feel like every year it picks out one person to hit it there over and over again. It’s a situation where it’s like, you hit those, and it’s talked about for two days, and then after that, you’re still out. It’s very frustrating.”
Henderson Alvarez needed only 90 pitches to dispense of the Mariners in Saturday’s two-hit gem, the fewest pitches ever thrown by a Marlins pitcher in a nine-inning performance.
Alvarez broke the previous record of 91 pitches, which was set by Dontrelle Willis on May 12, 2004, against the Astros.
It marked only the eighth time a Marlins pitcher has thrown fewer than 100 pitches to complete nine innings. Alvarez also did it when he totaled 99 pitches in his no-hitter last September.
The other Marlins pitchers who have come in under 100: Carl Pavano, Javier Vazquez, Alex Fernandez and Kevin Brown. Willis managed to do it twice.
• Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-1, 1.89 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (2-1, 1.93), 7:10 p.m., Turner Park.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-1, 2.66) at Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 1.67), 7:10 p.m. Turner Park.