Chris Coghlan has a ritual before every trip to the plate. He kisses his bat. Call it a fetish.
"I love the smell of the smell of the bat -- the ash -- for some reason," Coghlan said. "And I kiss it for good luck."
Until Friday, it hadn't done him much good. When he stepped inside the batter's box to face Tim Lincecum in the sixth inning, Coghlan's .104 average ranked as the absolute worst in the majors (minimum of 50 plate appearances). He had not hit a home run since June of last season.
"You're not up there thinking I'm hitting whatever you're hitting," Coghlan said. "I honestly don't know what I'm hitting. I just know it's not good. But every time you step in the box, you try to feel like you're hitting 1.000."
Coghlan, with his .104 average and zero home runs, laid into a hanging curve thrown by Lincecum for a 3-year-run swat that helped decide the outcome of the Marlins' 7-6 victory. It was his second home run off Lincecum, but his first since the 2009 season when he was Rookie of the Year. Remarkably, while Coghlan has hit only 20 home runs in the majors, half have come agaisnt just five pitchers: Lincecum; Cole Hamels, Jon Garland, Tim Redding and Fernando Nieve. He's hit two HRs each against those five hurlers. He's hit a grand total of 10 home runs against all of the other 247 pitchers he's faced.
Coghlan is now hitting .120. That's still the worst average in the majors. But he's back in the lineup this afternoon. Also, Donovan Solano will be making his first major league start, and it's coming at a position at which he has almost no experience: left field.
MARLINS: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Infante, 2b; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Stanton, rf; 5. Morrison, 1b; 6, Solano, lf; 7. Coghlan, cf; 8. Buck, c; 9. Buehrle, p.