The Miami Marlins capped a resurgent month of June with a walk-off grand slam from perhaps the most unlikely of candidates in their lineup. Light-hitting catcher Jeff Mathis entered the game on Sunday hitting .121, and was 1-for-15 (.067) with runners in scoring position at that point. The Padres, understandably, had intentionally walked Greg Dobbs to pitch to Mathis, but Mathis was able to connect for the game-winner.
The walk-off grand slam added a 15th win to the June tally, a number the team didn’t reach in April and May combined (14-41). Plugging in Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison to the lineup has been a major reason why the team has been able to drive in runs at a higher clip this past month. The emergence of rookies Marcell Ozuna and Derek Dietrich as everyday players has also been a contributing factor. But while the arrival of a number of players off the disabled list and up from the minors has clearly helped the offense, perhaps the biggest key to the improvement in June was the pitching. During one ten-game stretch, the Marlins pitching staff held opponents to three runs or fewer.
“To do what we did in June is great,” manager Mike Redmond said. “Are with happy with it? Yes. Are we satisfied with it? No. You’re seeing a different attitude, a different approach out there. We’ve got some guys healthy and different contributors that we didn’t get the first couple of months. We’re having fun.”
In addition to the walk-off slam, Marlins fans recently found out that Giancarlo Stanton and his big bopper will be featured in ESPN the Magazine’s fifth annual The Body Issue. This issue celebrates the physical form of our athletes today, and Stanton’s physique will be on display for all to see. Stanton was asked recently about his body, and the 23-year old slugger mentioned that he does 100 sit-ups and 100 push-ups to keep his chest and stomach well toned.