Marlins skipper Mike Redmond tuned into a sports show Tuesday morning and heard a couple of analysts discussing if Giancarlo Stanton should be mentioned in the National League's MVP race.
"I was like, 'What?' Just mention him?," Redmond said. "I think what he's done is made a statement. For sure, he should be right up there."
Thanks to a power surge at the plate since July 30 (.286, 8 HRs, 11 RBI), Stanton has retaken the league lead in home runs (31) and RBI (82) and entered the day Tuesday with an NL-best 5.8 wins above replacement rating. Stanton's OPS of .961 ranks second only to the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki (1.035).
Stanton said his recent 12-game run is the best he's felt at the plate since the third or fourth week of the season. In Monday's game, Stanton homered twice and made a diving catch in right field that was ranked the top play of the day on ESPN's SportsCenter. His 470-foot solo home run, which landed near the Budweiser Bar area in left field and won fans free beer, was ranked third on the show's Top 10.
Asked if his stellar day Monday should make the MVP talk louder, Stanton said: "You understand what's ahead of you and what the possibilities are. But I'm not typing MVP on Google every night. I've got other things to worry about."
According to BaseballProjection.com, which measures defensive metrics, Stanton ranks second only to the Braves' Jason Heyward among all right fielders in total zone, total fielding runs above average with a plus-16 rating. Last season, Stanton finished 14th among right fielders with a plus-5 rating.
"That’s a big key," Stanton said. "That’s what will set me away from the rest as a complete player. You don’t want to be thought of as a one sided player. You’ve got to be well rounded and contributing on all aspects."
Even though he hasn't blown a save since July 9 and is 10 for 10 on his last 10 save opportunities, Marlins closer Steve Cishek admits things "have been to close for comfort" lately.
Cishek has given up runs four times in his last seven appearances and has an ERA of 7.71 over the stretch. So what's wrong? He's not really sure.
"I'm going out there with the same mindset everyday and for some reason I'm in a rut again. I go through these lulls a couple times a year," Cishek said. "The location has been bad and right now the ball is just not coming out my hand like -- even though the velocity is there -- it's just not coming out the same. I just have to find a way to locate my pitches better down in the zone. I'm not going out there fearful or anything. For whatever reason it's just not happening right now."
> Redmond said it was good for the team to see reliever Dan Jennings, who visited the clubhouse Monday for the first time since being struck by a line drive in the head last week in Pittsburgh.
"He seems to be doing well," Redmond said. "He still obviously got some symptoms of a concussion. We're going to make sure he's 100 percent symptom-free before he begins any baseball activities.
"But it was great to see him in there sitting having a sandwich and hanging out. That's such a relief. That was a very scary situation. [Pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez] and I were just talking how much we'd love to have him this series with all the lefties [the Cardinals] have on their team. To see that ball hit him where it did and for him to be fine is just a huge relief."
Marlins join Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS, auction opportunity for fans to douse Stanton
The Marlins on Tuesday joined the viral phenomenon known as the Ice Bucket Challenge, the social media craze aimed at raising money and awareness for Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
Closer Steve Cishek took the first ice water bath Tuesday afternoon inside Marlins Park wearing an inflatable duck around his waist.
Club president David Samson and Mike Hill, the President of Baseball Operations took the challenge a couple of hours later right before batting practice. Now, the Marlins are offering fans a chance to bid on being the person to douse All-Star Giancarlo Stanton with ice water when he completes the challenge at a later date. Bidding began at 5 p.m. Tuesday and ends at 3 p.m. Friday.
The winner will get the opportunity to visit the Marlins Clubhouse, four batting practice passes, four Diamond Club seats to an upcoming game on a mutually agreeable date, a photo opportunity with the Stanton and of course the bucket of ice water.
"It was cold," Samson said of his ice bath. "I heard about the challenge just [Monday], and was issued it by [Marlins baseball informations manager Marty Sewell]. Of course we were going to do it. Now, I think you have to be taller than I am [to douse Stanton] otherwise we'll supply the ladder because all I can do is dump it on his legs."
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by friends and family members of Pete Frates on July 29 and has raised $2.3 million in donations for the ALS Association according to USA Today. Frates, 29, played baseball at Boston College. He was diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative condition, back in 2012.
Actors, athletes and even President Obama have either taken the challenge or donated to the cause. Aside from making a donation, the participant gets to nominate another person, who has 24 hours to complete the task.
"We've got Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones who will do it," Samson said. "[Mike Hill] issued the challenge to Mike Redmond, Christian Yelich and Dan Jennings. It's viral right now, which is great. People are doing it all over the country and raising money, and hopefully a cure will come."