The first day it was Ed Lucas. The next it was Garrett Jones.
When it comes to finding a right fielder to replace Giancarlo Stanton, manager Mike Redmond is trying everything but the kitchen sink. But no matter who he puts out there, the results are starting to look the same.
The Marlins lost their second consecutive game without Stanton — three in a row if the game Stanton went down on Thursday is included — and once again it was due largely to their inability to score. The 2-1 loss on Saturday followed Friday’s 3-1 setback in 10 innings.
Since Stanton was struck down by a Mike Fiers pitch in Milwaukee, the Marlins have totaled only four runs in 22 innings.
“We’ve had an emotional couple of days,” Redmond said. “[We’re] probably still processing a lot of it. So it’s probably going to take a few days to adjust.”
For Redmond and the Marlins, finding a way to score runs without Stanton is already proving difficult.
“We’re going to try a bunch of different guys in a bunch of different spots and see who responds,” Redmond said. “We’re trying to find a way to score more runs. We’ll do whatever it takes to score those runs. We need to score.”
While the offense has sputtered in Stanton’s absence, the starting pitching has been strong. Henderson Alvarez gave up only one run in seven innings Friday, and Brad Hand also turned in a good outing Saturday.
Hand gave up two runs in the first.
But after allowing an RBI double to Marlon Byrd, Hand retired 14 consecutive batters and 17 of the final 18 he faced. Hand has been throwing strikes, evidence of which is the fact he has not allowed a walk in either of his two most recent starts.
“The first inning has been trouble for me,” Hand said. “You never want to put the team in a 2-0 hole. But we got back one run, and it was a pitchers’ duel out there.”
Said Redmond: “I think our pitching has been doing a tremendous job in these games. I thought Brad Hand pitched great. I think earlier in the year maybe that game would have got away from him. This guy’s got great stuff and we believe in him, and we really want him to make the most of this opportunity because he’s got stuff to win ballgames at this level.”
But the hitting bright spots were few and far between for the Marlins.
Jones, who made his first start in right field since Sept.25 of last season when he was with the Pirates, hit a solo home run in the second off Kyle Kendrick. It was Jones’ 15th home run.
Kendrick, though, maintained his mastery over the Marlins. He improved to 13-3 in his career against them with Saturday’s win.
Reed Johnson collected his 1,000th major-league hit with his pinch-hit single in the seventh. But Justin Bour was thrown out at the plate with what would have been the tying run.
Even Christian Yelich, who has been one of the Marlins’ hottest hitters in recent weeks, couldn’t help them when it mattered. Yelich struck out with runners in scoring position in both the fifth and seventh innings, both times for the third out.
“We’re not helping ourselves out,” Redmond said. “We’ve got to find a way to score more than one run.”
The loss by the Marlins was their fourth in a row and left them only 21/2 games in front of the last-place Phillies. The two teams close out their series on Sunday and play three more times in Miami.