After an All-Star first half, Marcell Ozuna has fallen into a rut to begin the second half.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly hopes a day off will help bring Ozuna back to form.
Ozuna was out of the starting lineup against the Phillies on Tuesday night, with Ichiro Suzuki at Ozuna’s normal spot in center field.
“I felt like he’s been kind of out of it, a little off-kilter,” Mattingly said of Ozuna.
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Since the All-Star break, Ozuna has a .184 batting average, going 7 for 38 at the plate with five RBI and seven strikeouts. He had just one hit and two walks in 16 plate appearances through the first four games of the Marlins’ 10-game homestand.
“Giving him a day to sit, giving him a day to work on his swing a little bit, as much as anything, it’s about getting him back on track,” Mattingly said.
With the Marlins’ slumping at the plate, they can’t afford to give up too many at-bats.
They were shut out in back-to-back games Sunday and Monday for the first time since July 19-21, 2013. In those two games, the Marlins — the top hitting team in the National League — recorded just seven hits.
“It happens with every team,” Mattingly said. “You’re going to go through a stretch where you don’t score and things aren’t clicking together, and then before you know it, you’ll be scoring five or six a game.”
COSART EYES CONSISTENCY
While playing for the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans, starting pitcher Jarred Cosart spent time analyzing the career paths of pitchers with a style similar to his.
One that stood out in particular: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta’s.
After first being called up in 2010 by the Orioles, Arrieta bounced around from MLB roster to the minor league before being traded to the Cubs in 2013.
But over the last three seasons, the Cubs right-handed pitcher went on to win the National League Cy Young Award in 2015 with an MLB-record 0.75 ERA and was a 2016 All-Star.
“[Arrieta’s] path was a rough one, but he ultimately figured it out,” said Cosart, who opened the season in the Marlins’ starting rotation before being sent down to Triple-A. “Now, I’m not claiming I’m going to figure it out like that, but that’s the goal. Hopefully something clicks right and things start falling into place.”
Monday’s performance could be the jumpstart Cosart needed, especially with the Marlins still searching for consistency in the back half of their starting rotation.
Starting in place of Wei-Yin Chen, who is on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury, Cosart tossed five scoreless innings in his first Major League start since April 22, giving up just three hits and a walk while striking out three.
In the start, Cosart also debuted a simpler wind-up where he begins in the stretch instead of taking an initial step beforehand.
“It kind of takes all the in-between stuff and all the clutter out,” Cosart said. “That’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do this whole time. … I feel comfortable. I feel good.”
Chris Johnson was a late scratch from the starting lineup at first base Tuesday. Miguel Rojas moved over from second base to first. Derek Dietrich started at second after originally being scheduled to have a day off.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (6-5, 3.58 ERA) vs. Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (3-3, 3.40 ERA), 12:10 p.m., Marlins Park
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (12-4, 2.54 ERA) vs. Cardinals RHP Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.37 ERA), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.