The inevitable ascension of rookie Mike Stanton in the Marlins lineup takes another step upward today with manager Edwin Rodriguez's decision to install the slugger in the fifth spot. The move hardly comes as a surprise. Rodriguez discussed the possibility on Saturday and last night's game cemented the decision. Cody Ross, batting fifth, went 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and made the final out of the inning four times.
"Mike's a four hitter, let's be honest," Ross said. "He's just slowly moving his way up and he's going to be a four hitter for a long time. We have a pretty good four hitter as it is right now (Dan Uggla). I'm just saying in the future. It was just a matter of time. Everybody knew he was going to be in that spot. So I'm fine with it. It's no knock because he's a great player and he deserves to be up in the middle of the order."
Stanton hit seventh after he was promoted from the minors in early June, dropped down to eighth briefly, returned to the seven hole, and moved into the six spot at the end of July and first of August.
"I'm more concerned about how Mike is going to handle this because they're going to pitch him differently," Rodriguez said. "I think that more frequently he's going ot have runners in scoring position and pitchers don't pitch the same with nobody on or a runner on first as they do when runners are in scoring position."
Stanton is hitting .302 with runners in scoring position. Among Marlins regulars, only fellow rookie Gaby Sanchez has had greater RISP success (.327).
Though Ross isn't in the lineup today (Emilio Bonifacio is batting seventh and starting in center), he will return to the lineup and bat sixth on Monday when the Marlins open a four-game series in Pittsburgh. One additional note on the lineup: with Chris Coghlan on the mend following knee surgery, Rodriguez said Hanley Ramirez will remain in the leadoff spot the rest of the season.
Here's the lineup as we brace for the potential of afternoon rain showers in the Cincinnati area:
Marlins: 1. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Mike Stanton, rf; 6. Wes Helms, 3b; 7. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p.
Redlegs: 1. Brandon Phillips, 2b; 2. Jay Bruce, rf; 3. Joey Votto, 1b; 4. Jonny Gomes, lf; 5. Jim Edmonds, cf; 6. Miguel Cairo, 3b; 7. Ryan Hanigan, c; 8. Paul Janish, ss; 9. Homer Bailey, p.
Umpires: HP -- D.J. Reyburn; 1B -- Mike Winters; 2B -- Chris Guccione; 3B -- Phil Cuzzi
WEST ON SUICIDE ALERT.....One of the key plays Saturday was Paul Janish's suicide squeeze bunt in the fourth inning. It was a remarkable piece of bunting under do-or-die circumstances considering that he was pulling back and nearly knocked off his feet by Sean West's inside pitch. "I heard 'squeeze' at the very last second and tried to throw the ball in," West said. "But he did a good job laying it down."
CINCINNATI BLUES.....If the Marlins lose again today, it will mark the third time over their past four visits to Cincinnati that they suffer a series sweep. The Marlins have gone 3-13 at Great American Ball Park since 2006.