With the Marlins still struggling at the plate, Ozzie Guillen continues to try and push the right buttons to turn things around.
Tonight against the Red Sox he's giving second baseman Omar Infante the night off. Infante, who has been one of the Marlins most consistent hitters all season, has seen his batting average dip more than 40 points in the last two weeks as he's produced just 11 hits in his last 59 at-bats (.186) without an RBI.
"He needed it," Guillen said. "He's mentally tired. He's been playing everyday. Hopefully with a couple days he'll get back on track."
If Guillen could he'd probably do the same for a few other guys, too. The Marlins have been absolutely putrid at the plate with runners in scoring position on this 0-6 home stand -- going just 5 for 50 in those situations.
"Our hitting is not helping us at all," Guillen said.
"When we were playing well, that's what we [were] doing. We got the big hits. Everytime they scored one, we scored two, came back. Last couple games, last couple weeks, we're not doing that. I think we have to get better at-bats with runners in scoring position and not try to do too much. I think the players, the hitters, every time they see runners in scoring position they try to do too much, change what they're supposed to do. They have to stick with it. Use the same approach at the plate."
Guillen lamented the run the Marlins cost themselves in the sixth inning Sunday when Justin Ruggiano, who started the inning with a pinch-hit double, was thrown out at home for just the second out of the inning. Ruggiano said Monday he was supposed to run on contact, but hesitated when Infante's ground ball went right by him and directly to third baseman Sean Rodriguez.
"James Shields has a great pickoff move to third -- one I saw with my own eyes when I was in Tampa -- so I wasn't taking a big lead," Ruggiano said. "But it's still my fault. If I had run as soon as he hit it, I would have forced [Rodriguez] to make a perfect throw home to get me."
> Although they still lead all of baseball by a wide margin in stolen bases, the Marlins haven't been very aggressive on the bases in June. Miami, which stole 40 bases in May, has just two steals this month and has been caught stealing twice. Guillen said there is an easy explanation for that.
"To steal second you have to get first. You cannot steal first," he said. "Besides that, the opportunity is not there. Most of the times we get on base, we're down by four, five runs and the game is not on the line. I think that's the biggest reason. I think as soon as we start getting more people on base you'll see more people running."
> Don't expect to see pitcher Carlos Zambrano putting on any shows during batting practice anymore. Guillen said he's cutting that out after Zambrano left his last start on Saturday with lower back stiffness.
"We're cutting down his swings," Guillen said. "Everytime I see him swing he wants to hit the ball all the way to the Toyota sign [in the upper deck in right field at Marlins Park]. He's done with that. Now, he's just going to bunt, bunt and bunt. No more home run derby."
Guillen said Zambrano's hitting isn't necessarily the reason the 31-year old right-hander is having back pain, but called it something the Marlins "can control."
"Carlos puts on a show when he hits," Guillen said. "We have to control that. I'm not going to say he's not going to hit. But you don't win games in batting practice."
Guillen expects Zambrano will make his next scheduled start Friday in Tampa Bay.
> Red Sox (29-31): 1. Scott Podsednik LF, 2. Dustin Pedroia 2B, 3. Adrian Gonzalez RF, 4. David Ortiz 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 6. Kevin Youkilis 3B, 7. Ryan Sweeney CF, 8. Mike Aviles SS, 9. Josh Beckett P.
> Marlins (31-29): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison LF, 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 7. Chris Coghlan CF, 8. John Buck C, 9. Josh Johnson P.