Sixty is sexy — at least when it comes to homers — and Giancarlo Stanton needs just one more long ball in three games to reach that impressive milestone.
So far, only Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire have hit 60 or more homers in a season, and Stanton smashed 58 and 59 on Thursday night against the Atlanta Braves.
“Those are all the guys I looked up to – some were lefties – but I modeled my swings, my home run trots, just the way the ball flies,” Stanton said of the men in the 60-homer club. “I was able to see a bunch of them from the stands.
“It’s crazy to be in that company. It doesn’t sink in, doesn’t make sense really. It’s really cool. It’s everything I’ve worked for.”
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Stanton’s incredible season — he is the first National League player since 2001 to hit 30-plus doubles, 50-plus homers and drive in 125-plus runs in the same season — will now come down to the remaining three games this weekend against Atlanta, which will start lightly regarded rookie Luiz Gohara of Brazil on Friday.
“It’s impossible not to think about it,” Stanton said of his chase for 60. “But the more you think about it, the harder it’s going to be, from my perspective. Take the rest of the at-bats – simplify it.
“If it happens, it happens. If not, it’s not failure. I think I’ll survive.”
Thursday’s two home runs by Stanton give him 47 this year while batting second in the order, breaking a major-league record set by Eddie Mathews in 1959.
Stanton has 129 RBIs, eight more than the previous franchise record of 121 set by Preston Wilson in 2000. Stanton has also scored 121 runs, which ranks third in the majors this year.
In Stanton’s previous game, Wednesday afternoon at the Colorado Rockies, he went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. But he effectively put that effort in his rear-view mirror.
Stanton said he just needed to “relax” after Colorado.
“I was overanalyzing the situations,” he said. “That didn’t work too good.”
▪ Marlins rookie Dillon Peters (1-2), pitching in Stanton’s giant shadow, won his first major-league game, allowing just two hits and no runs in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out four in his sixth major-league start.
In his previous 18 2/3 innings, Peters had allowed 18 runs.
COUNT HIM IN
Manager Don Mattingly made it clear on Thursday that he wants to remain with the Marlins even if the new ownership group — led by Bruce Sherman and former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter — decides to largely dismantle the current roster.
Mattingly, also a former Yankees star, said he hasn’t talked to Jeter, but he knows his mindset.
“He’s a guy who is going to want to win,” Mattingly said. “He’ll have vision for the long range. He’ll want to build the organization where it’s not just a chance to win one year. He’s going to want to build this thing and do it right.
“It’s going to be a positive having Derek here. That’s my belief from knowing Derek as a person.”
Mattingly, who also went through an ownership change while he managed the Los Angeles Dodgers, said he has no idea what players or even coaches will return next year under the Sherman/Jeter administration.
But, Mattingly said, he’s fine with rebuilding if that’s the new direction.
“My first thought about coming to Miami was to build something sustainable,” he said, “to be a part of something that can stand the test of time.”
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Dan Straily (10-9, 4.08) vs. Braves RHP Luiz Gohara (1-3, 4.63), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.