The last time Giancarlo Stanton was a healthy scratch from the starting lineup was on May 18 of last season, on the last day of a four-game series at AT&T Park. He eventually made it into that game as a pinch-hitter.
History repeated itself Sunday.
Stanton wasn’t in the lineup for the series finale. Call it a mental health break. Stanton had gone 4 for 25 on the road trip with 11 strikeouts, with four of those whiffs coming Saturday.
“Just a day off,” Stanton said. “Have a day off, get to [Los Angeles]. Same time I had a day off last year.”
Manager Mike Redmond said he “planted the seed” with Stanton four or five days ago, even before his slump worsened — that Redmond was thinking about giving him the day off Sunday.
“I was looking at the schedule, thinking this would be a good day, not even thinking result-wise,” Redmond said. “This was what I was planning. He’s had a good, solid stretch of games he’s played. Hopefully, we’ll get him the full day.”
Stanton has not looked comfortable with either his approach or his swings during the road trip.
“It happens with all hitters, not just him,” Redmond said. “Sometimes it’s good just to take a day, sit back and relax. It’s tough to take him out of the lineup because he has the ability to hit a homer at any time. At the same time, we need him for the long haul, and we need him fresh, and we have the ability to give him a day off. The fresher we can keep him, the more productive he can be.”
Yelich hitting fifth
Stanton’s absence wasn’t the only lineup news of significance on Sunday. Christian Yelich was dropped to the No.5 spot in the order and might remain there for the foreseeable future.
Redmond said two factors are at play in the decision to drop Yelich in the order: his hitting slump and the production the Marlins are getting at the very top of the lineup from Dee Gordon and Martin Prado.
Entering Sunday, Yelich was hitting just .170 with only one extra-base hit — a double — and had gone 0 for 8 since coming off the disabled list with a back injury.
The decision to drop Yelich to the fifth spot didn’t come about overnight. Redmond was planning to move Yelich there weeks ago. In fact, Yelich said he was told he was going to bat fifth on the day in Philadelphia when his back tightened up on him during batting practice, which landed him on the DL.
“He’s going to be fine,” Redmond said. “He needs to play. He needs to get at-bats.”
Redmond likes his 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup with Gordon, who returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing two games with a tight hamstring, and Prado.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (2-3, 5.18 ERA) at Los Angeles Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (5-0, 1.56), 10:10 p.m., Dodger Stadium.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Dan Haren (4-1, 2.68) at Dodgers (TBA), 10:10 p.m., Dodger Stadium.