On a night in which Giancarlo Stanton flexed his mighty muscles by depositing a pair of home runs into the left-field bleachers at Citi Field, the Marlins still came up 4-3 losers to the New York Mets.
Not even Stanton’s twin salvos of power could save the Marlins, who are barreling toward the 100-loss mark for only the second time in franchise history.
Manager Mike Redmond didn’t need to be reminded about that dubious distinction. He was a player on the dreadful 1998 Marlins team that lost 108 and is now hoping to avoid triple-digit losses in his first year as the team’s manager.
“Nobody wants to be a part of a team that loses 100 games,” Redmond said. “I’ve been there as a player. It’s not fun.”
The Marlins (54-92) must go 9-7 or better over their remaining 16 games to avoid the 100-loss stigma. Given that they have now lost seven of their past nine, it’s not looking good for them.
On Friday, they couldn’t even put away the Mets, the only team they have pretty much had their own way with this season. The Marlins had won 10 of the 15 previous encounters with their division rivals but — even with Stanton going deep twice — couldn’t knock out another win.
Lucas Duda erased a 2-1 Marlins lead in the sixth with a three-run homer off Brad Hand, who was seeking his first major-league win since the 2011 season and the first for a Marlins starter other than Jose Fernandez since Sept. 2. Hand said he hung a curveball that Duda clobbered.
“I can’t think of too many bad pitches he made,” Redmond said of Hand. “Unfortunately, that was the wrong pitch at the wrong time and it cost him.”
Duda’s poke wiped out Stanton’s two solo blasts, one in the first and another in the seventh, both walloped off the Mets’ Jon Niese. It marked the ninth time in Stanton’s career — and third time this season — that he connected on two homers in a game. The Marlins had won seven of the previous eight of those.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden, who was 19 when he won the National League’s Rookie of the Year award in 1984, believes the favorite to win the coveted honor this year, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, is a superstar in the making.
“If he stays healthy, the sky’s the limit for him,” Gooden said Friday, shortly before meeting Fernandez for the first time. “He has great stuff. He’s only going to get better, and that’s the scary part.”
Gooden went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA the year he won Rookie of the Year with the New York Mets. He struck out 276 batters in only 218 innings. Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA before being shut down for the season.
“I think the thing that sticks out more than anything is his mound presence,” Gooden said of Fernandez. “I mean, here’s a guy, he pitches like he’s been there for a long time. He’s not afraid of hitters. He likes pitching inside. He has a lot of confidence. I don’t think he’s cocky. I think it’s a lot of confidence.”
Gooden said he also likes the fact that Fernandez lived in Tampa, his hometown, after defecting from Cuba and wears the same uniform number — No. 16.
“He’s fun to watch, and he has a lot of energy,” Gooden said. “I think he’s going to put up great numbers for years to come.”
Coming upSaturday (doubleheader) Scouting report