Excitement over Monday's Jose Fernandez-Yasiel Puig showdown already spilling into Marlins clubhouse
The Marlins and Giants played a 24-run slugfest Friday night and still have two games left to play, but the focus has already begun to shift to Monday when the red-hot Dodgers come to town.
That's the night National League Rookie of the Year candidates and Cuban-born stars Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez will face off against each other here in Little Havana. Puig is being made available to the media before the game Monday and there will be plenty of reporters here to talk to him.
Fernandez? He's doing his best not to make too much of the showdown.
"I'm not facing Yasiel Puig on Monday," Fernandez said, correcting a local Spanish station TV reporter in the clubhouse Saturday. "I'm facing a good lineup. Puig is one of the best hitters. They got a lot of guys, a lot of All-Stars and good players that have been playing well. I'm really looking forward to it and doing a good job, trying to get a W for my team."
Do you keep track of other guys in the NL Rookie of the Year race, Jose?
"I keep track of every five days when I've got to pitch. That's what I keep track of," Fernandez said. "I don't really mind what other people are doing. As long as we're winning, that's what I care about.
"The only thing I know and can tell the fans is I'm going to give 100 percent and I'm going to try to make sure we win."
At last check, StubHub still had 789 tickets available for $9.95. That's a pretty good deal to come watch two of the most exciting young players in the game face each other -- and a red-hot Dodgers team take on the Marlins.
POLANCO TO SIT OUT A DAY
Third baseman Placido Polanco said Saturday he is still "a little off balance" after being hit in the back of the head by a fastball in the eighth inning Friday. Manager Mike Redmond said he's not going to play Polanco Saturday, but is hopeful he could be available Sunday.
"The trainer asked me a real tough question: What day was it? That's a question we don't even know when we're OK," Polanco joked Saturday.
"According to what I feel it should be a day or two. If I would have a headache today or worse that would be bad. But I don't."
Back when he was with the Tigers in 2006, Polanco was struck in the face by an Esteban Loaiza pitch. It kept him out a week. "That was worse," Polanco said.
RED-HOT RUGGIANO SITTING
Even though he smacked two home runs -- his first two of the season at home -- and drove in four runs Friday, the suddenly-hot Justin Ruggiano isn't in the Marlins lineup Saturday.
"I don't think anything," Ruggiano said when asked if he was surprised not to be in the lineup. "I think Redmond had my back when I was 0-for-a-month. I have all the respect in the world for him. The patience he had with me when I was going through a rut. I have so much respect for him and how he handled it when I was doing nothing. The decision he makes the rest of the year, whenever I'm always going to have his back with whoever he puts out there."
Redmond, who is starting rookie Jake Marisnick in center to get him more playing time, laughed when he was asked why Ruggiano wasn't in the lineup.
"It's funny because when he was 0-for-38 you guys thought I was crazy when I batted him in front of Stanton," Redmond said. "Now, he's 6-for-8 and you're wondering why I'm not playing him. It's funny. He's swinging the bat good. Hopefully he'll get a hit coming off the bench. Jake is a young guy. We want him to get out there and get time."
> Although pitcher Nate Eovaldi said he didn't think he was tipping his pitches after giving up a career-high 12 hits and nine earned runs in Friday's loss, Redmond said there were "a couple little things" the Giants "could or couldn't pick up" on. Redmond said pitching coach Chuck Hernandez has already told Eovaldi about them to make sure he doesn't repeat it in his next start.
"It's always good to stay on top of guys' mechanics so they're relentless in their consistencies and deliveries and glove placement, how they take signs. It's definitely something every guy needs to be aware," Redmond said. "Chuck and [bullpen coach] Reed [Cornelius] are relentless on that stuff, watching video and making sure guys are consistent."
> Redmond was happy with the one shutout inning of work rookie right-hander Arquimedes Caminero delivered Friday night and reiterated control will be the most important thing for him. Caminero plunked a batter when a slider got away from him, but came back and struckout the final hitter he faced.
"You have to have off-speed pitches, whether it be a slider or split finger," Redmond said. "As you can see, fastballs get hit really hard in the big leagues. Although we'd love to say you could throw 98 at the knees and get somebody out, you definitely got to have a reliable off-speed pitch, breaking ball you can go to. That's what's going to make him successful because you can't always rely on the fastball -- especially against experienced hitters. That's just something he's going to have to continue to work on."
> Giants (54-67): 1. Marco Scutaro 2B, 2. Brandon Crawford SS, 3. Brandon Belt 1B, 4. Buster Posey C, 5. Hunter Pence RF, 6. Pablo Sandoval 3B, 7. Roger Kieschnick RF, 8. Gregor Blanco CF, 9. Matt Cain RHP.
> Marlins (46-74): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton, 4. Logan Morrison, 5. Ed Lucas, 6. Adeiny Hechavarria, 7. Jake Marisnick, 8. Koyie Hill, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.