Miami Marlins

Stanton hopes his struggles in Atlanta are behind him

Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (27) is greeted at the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in Atlanta. It was Stanton's second homer of the game.
Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (27) is greeted at the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in Atlanta. It was Stanton's second homer of the game. AP

Giancarlo Stanton doesn’t like it here. Or at least he didn’t before, when the Braves called Turner Field their home. Stanton stunk at Turner.

He hit two home runs there in seven seasons.

Two!

“I hated Turner Field, so I’m glad we’re out of there,” Stanton said.

Stanton hit as many home runs in two swings Friday night at Atlanta’s new SunTrust Park as he did in all 145 of his at-bats at Turner Field. Both came on R.A. Dickey knuckleballs, with one traveling 477 feet — his longest home run of the season.

They were his first home runs in Atlanta in four years, his first since he tagged Mike Minor for one on Aug. 31, 2013. His only other homer at Turner Field came off Christhian Martinez in 2012.

“I just didn’t like it,” said Stanton, who took over the major-league lead in homers on Friday with his 34th and 35th, of Turner Field. “Nothing specific. The batter’s eye was pretty nice. Just wasn’t a comfortable place there, for some reason.”

It’s not like the Marlins don’t play in Atlanta all that often, either. Or that they performed any better as a team than Stanton did as an individual, struggling to the tune of a 64-106 record at Turner Field over the years.

But Stanton has fared much better in the other National League East ballparks the Marlins visit frequently. He has 20 home runs in 186 career at-bats at Citi Field in New York and 16 in 184 at-bats at Nationals Park in Washington.

Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, a hitter’s park, hasn’t been quite as kind to the Marlins’ big slugger. Stanton has hit 10 homers in 173 at-bats there.

But nothing compared to Turner Field when it came to ballparks that had Stanton’s number.

“It had nothing to do with the ballpark, I don’t think,” said Marlins third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez, who was Atlanta’s manager from 2011-16. “It was a fair ballpark. We just pitched him good. I thought [former Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell] had a good game plan on him.”

It wasn’t just in the power categories where Stanton lagged. He hit .206 at Turner, which has now been converted to football for Georgia State University.

Here are Stanton’s OPS figures at the four rival NL East ballparks:

▪ Nationals Park: 1.035.

▪ Citi Field: .949.

▪ Citizens Bank Park: .756.

▪ Turner Field: .600.

Based on the initial results, it’s much too early to tell whether Stanton has turned over a new leaf at SunTrust, which sits north of Atlanta. He’s gone 3 for 18 there so far.

But his two home runs Friday provided at least a glimmer of optimism for Stanton that it might not be quite as tough on him as Turner Field was for years.

“This one I’m still figuring out,” Stanton said. “I still feel new to everything. It’s a cool feeling.”

MARLINS ARE STILL LACKING PROSPECTS

Baseball America released its “After Trade Deadline” talent rankings for all major-league organizations and, despite dealing for a number of prospects leading up to the July 31 deadline, the Marlins rank 30th.

As in dead last.

According to the publication, “trades, injuries have left the Marlins very thin in prospects in full-season ball.”

COMING UP

▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (9-5, 3.82 ERA) at Atlanta Braves RHP Lucas Sims (0-1, 4.50), 1:35 p.m., SunTrust Park.

▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Chris O’Grady (2-1, 5.40) at Washington Nationals (TBA), 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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