Coors Field causes Giancarlo Stanton and Garrett Jones to salivate, and who can blame them?
Among active players with at least 45 plate appearances at the hitter-friendly ballpark, Stanton and Jones rank first and second in career OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) at Coors.
Stanton has a career OPS at Coors of 1.421. Jones ranks second at 1.286.
Although Stanton was in the lineup as usual on Friday, Jones was on the bench as Colorado opened the series with a left-hander, Franklin Morales, and Jones hasn’t started against a southpaw since late June.
Jeff Baker was in the Marlins’ lineup at first base instead.
“You come into town and you want to get as many at-bats as you can,” Jones said. “I want to play at Coors Field. Obviously, Baker has been crushing lefties.”
The good news for Jones is the Rockies are starting right-handers Saturday and Sunday.
“If you hit the ball halfway decent to right, the ball just keeps going,” Jones said. “It doesn’t seem to come down. For me, it definitely plays well for my swing.”
In his career at Coors, Jones has gone 19 for 48 with 13 extra-base hits (eight doubles, a triple and four home runs).
Going into Friday, Stanton had gone 13 for 39 at Coors with seven homers.
Because he plays so infrequently, Reed Johnson is having a tough time digging his way out of a long slump that has lasted months.
Dating to June 28, Johnson has gone just 2 for 35 — 2 for 28 as a pinch-hitter.
“Really, I’m going up there and pretty much fighting every at-bat,” said Johnson, who was on fire at the start of the season before cooling considerably.
Johnson, a backup outfielder, has been unable to get playing time to help keep his bat sharp.
“The best three hitters on the team happen to be in the outfield,” Johnson said.
And one of those, Christian Yelich, has proved that he can hit lefties, something that was a question going into the season. As a result, Johnson hasn’t even received the occasional start against left-handers.
“The role, obviously, is tough,” Johnson said. “[In a platoon] situation, your starts keep you fresh for your at-bats off the bench, and your at-bats off the bench keep you fresh for your starts. And when one of those things is missing, it becomes kind of tough.”
Manager Mike Redmond empathizes with Johnson.
“He’s in a tough position,” Redmond said. “Yelich has hit lefties, and that was a hurdle, we weren’t sure how he was going to be able to [do] during the course of the season.”
Redmond said he remains confident in Johnson.
I still like having him in a big situation,” Redmond said. “I know if I have a runner in scoring position and I need a guy to have a great at-bat, I know Reed Johnson is going to give you a quality at-bat, whether he ends up getting a hit or not.”
PLANS FOR CALL-UPS
The Marlins are expected to draw reinforcements from the ranks of the injured when rosters can be expanded Sept. 1.
Right-handed reliever Carter Capps was to begin a rehab assignment Monday with the Gulf Coast League Marlins. Lefty reliever Dan Jennings was set to throw two innings Friday for Single A Jupiter. Second baseman Derek Dietrich was also expected to play Friday for the Hammerheads.
Redmond said all three will likely figure into the Marlins’ September plans.
“I think the plan is for those guys to be ready right around that time,” Redmond said. “I know Capps is feeling good, and it’s a good sign. He could end up pitching some big innings for us in September, and Jennings the same way.”
COMING UP• Saturday : Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.82 ERA) at Colorado Rockies RHP Jordan Lyles (6-1, 4.01), 8:10 p.m., Coors Field.
• Sunday : Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-5, 4.52) at Rockies TBA, 4:10 p.m., Coors Field.