KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Giancarlo Stanton is at a loss to explain his subpar season, only to say that it's been "mind-blowing."
"I usually like growing experiences, but this one I don't like," said Stanton, who was left out of the lineup Wednesday for the second time on the road trip. "When I look back at this as annoying -- as every negative word you can find for this time -- hopefully this time is the only time it'll be this long, and in this fashion."
Stanton is hitting just .237 with 13 home runs, and his eight outfield errors are tied for most in the majors. It's why Stanton says that no single number -- the batting average, the home runs, the errors -- frustrates him more than any other.
"There's no point in looking at them," Stanton said of the numbers. "There's no one thing. (It's) everything, even defense. It's just one of those mind-blowing things."
Stanton is hitting just .209 with three home runs since the All-Star break. His road slugging percentage of .296 ranks as one of the lowest in the majors. He's hitting .184 on the road after going 5 for 29 with only one RBI on the road trip.
Even more frustrating, Stanton said, is the fact he's never experienced a slump of such depth and doesn't have any history on which to find a solution.
"When you have all your checkpoints that you had built for yourself throughout your professional career, and all of those have failed... now you have to find new ones," he said. "It's one of those things where you need to figure it out."
Stanton can't put his finger on an explanation for why his season has turned sour.
"You might be telling yourself you're not thinking too much, and maybe you are," he said. "(Or) say you're not trying too hard, and maybe you are. (Or) saying you're not trying enough....there's so many things that can spiral out in a situation like this, and when you've never been in a situation like this, it's also a little more difficult to get out of."
Ramon Del Orbe, a right-handed pitcher for Single A Greensboro, is in serious condition at a West Virginia hospital after being struck in the head by a line drive on Tuesday, fracturing his skull.
"It was a line drive off the right temple, at least one fracture, possibly two," said Marty Scott, the Marlins' vice president of player development. "They've got some further tests, as well as visits with neurosurgeons, to determine whether they'll need to do surgery."
Del Orbe, 21, was struck in the head by a line drive in Tuesday's sixth inning.
Greensboro catcher Jose Behar tweeted afterward: "Prayin that my roommate/teammate/friend Ramon makes a full recovery. Took a screamin line drive to the head and suffered a skull fracture."
Del Orbe was signed by the Marlins out of the Dominican Republic and is in his fifth season with the organization.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- These may be the dog days of August, but Jose Fernandez is feeling anything but pooped. To the contrary. The 21-year-old rookie, after shutting down the Kansas City Royals last night, says he feels like a million bucks.
"For the second half of the year, I've been feeling a lot stronger than the first half," Fernandez said following yet another strong performance. "That's something that happened last year, too. Same thing happened last year. The first half I'm just doing my stuff. The second half I'm working a lot harder. I don't know why. I'm getting used to my body and myself. This is my second professional year and I'm feeling right now exactly how I felt last year."
No matter how strong Fernandez is feeling, though, the Marlins have no intention of modifying their original plans to cap his innings at 150-170 (though it's safe to assume he'll be permitted to take aim on the high end given how effortlessly he appears to be throwing). Fernandez has now thrown 139 2/3 innings, or just a few innings more than he totaled all of last season in the minors (134 1/3).
But his numbers appear to support his contention that he's "stronger" and better now than he was to start the season. His ERA since June 1: 1.65. His strikeout rate has been climbing. He averaged 8.6 K's/9 innings in April, 9.2 in May, 8.9 in June, 10.3 in July and 11.3 this month. Conversely, his WHIP has diminished each month: 1.292 in April, 1.200 in May, .928 in June, .857 in July and .850 this month.
It all jives with manager Mike Redmond's assessment that Fernandez is a different pitcher now than he was before his All-Star Game appearance.
"After the All-Star Game, I think he was a different guy," Redmond said. "I think that All-Star Game made him, if you can imagine, even more confident. I think he went up against the best and, even though he threw one inning, that was a huge inning for him confidence-wise. Really, since the All-Star Game, I think he's been a different pitcher. He's going out there going 'I want to be the best pitcher in the league.' And you know what? He's making a case."
Giancarlo Stanton is back on the bench as the Marlins close out the road trip. Justin Ruggiano, who is mired in an 0 for 42 hitless skid -- three shy of the single-season major league record for a position player -- is starting in right field. Stanton also sat out a game in Atlanta. Stanton has gone 5 for 29 on the road trip with 11 strikeouts and only one extra-base hit, a double.
1. Christian Yelich, lf; 2. Donovan Solano, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, 1b; 4. Placido Polanco 3b; 5. Greg Dobbs, dh; 6. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; 7. Jake Marisnick, cf; 8. Justin Ruggiano, rf; 9. Koyie Hill, c. Pitching: Jacob Turner.