Christian Yelich isn’t big, doesn’t swing a heavy bat, and doesn’t crank home runs like the second coming of Godzilla.
But for a team that is as starved for scoring as the Marlins are now, manager Don Mattingly did some tinkering with Tuesday’s lineup and penned Yelich’s name in the cleanup spot.
“It’s really trying to do something a little bit different,” Mattingly explained. “I’m not sure that this has anything to do with it. If we scored some runs tonight, I don’t know that this would necessarily have anything to do with it.”
The Marlins have scored the fewest runs in the majors this month, are without injured sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour, and were coming out of three games in which they scored a total of only two runs.
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“We haven’t been scoring runs, so we’ve got to switch something up, to jump-start something,” said Yelich, who can’t ever remember hitting cleanup, not even in Little League. “It doesn’t hurt to try it.”
Mattingly elevated Marcell Ozuna to the No. 2 spot, with Martin Prado dropping down to No. 3.
Yelich said he doesn’t intend to change his hitting approach as the Marlins’ No. 4 hitter.
“It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m hitting fourth. Read the manual. What does it say? I’ve got to hit 30 homers and drive in 120?’” Yelich said. “No, You’ve got to go with the same approach.
“The player you are is the player you are, and if we put Dee Gordon hitting fourth, he’s not automatically going to start hitting 30 homers.”
With Monday’s 2-1 loss in 10 innings to the Mets, the Marlins raised their total of one-run losses for the month to 10. That’s the second-highest number of 1-run losses in a single month in franchise history.
According to Stats Inc., the Marlins lost 13 one-run games in June 2011.
The problem, clearly, has been the lack off offense.
Despite the absence of two members of the rotation in Wei-Yin Chen and Adam Conley, and the brief loss of reliever A.J. Ramos, the Marlins’ pitching staff has performed surprisingly well.
The staff’s 3.74 ERA for August ranks third among N.L. teams.
Conley (left hand injury) resumed throwing Tuesday after seeing a hand specialist in New York on Monday.
Conley, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 14, will take time to regain his form and arm strength. Mattingly said Conley could be ready to pitch in three weeks, which would allow him to make as many as three more starts.
An unknown team has claimed Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig off revocable waivers, according to media reports. But that team wasn’t the Marlins, a baseball source told the Herald. The Dodgers can always pull Puig back off waivers if they can’t work out a deal with the claiming team, and try to trade him over the winter.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (7-6, 2.52) at New York Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (12-7, 3.44), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (2-5, 5.83) at New York Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (7-7, 2.96), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.