05/14/12 10:30 PM ET
Dobbs has right mindset coming off the bench
By Joe Frisaro and Tom Green / MLB.com
The mindset certainly works.
Dobbs is 5-for-14 as a pinch-hitter this season, and his RBI single in the ninth inning on Sunday was a major factor in the Marlins' 8-4 comeback win over the Mets.
"Everybody looks at taking it one at-bat at a time," said Dobbs, whose 79 career pinch-hits are the most of any active player. "I break it down even further. You have to take it one pitch at a time. So every pitch is an at-bat when you're pinch-hitting, basically."
Mike Baxter of the Mets leads the Majors with seven pinch-hits, while Dobbs is tied for second. Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki, Houston's Travis Buck, Cincinnati's Todd Frazier and San Diego's Jesus Guzman also have five.
"It's about the process," Dobbs said. "That's all I'm concerned with is the process. I'll let the result take care of itself. If I can have a good at-bat, if I can do what I'm trying to accomplish within the at-bat, I feel good about my chances."
Since joining the Marlins a year ago, Dobbs has been one of the league's top pinch-hitters. He is 15-for-41 (.366) with a .386 on-base percentage the past two years. His 15 pinch-hits are tied for the third most in the Majors.
Hitting coach Eduardo Perez says the key to pinch-hitting is understanding that less is more.
"With pinch-hitters, a lot of people have the tendency of taking swings inside and working too much on their mechanics instead of studying who is on the mound," Perez said.
"Usually a pinch-hitter comes in against a reliever, not a starter. It's studying their tendencies, studying their habits, studying their comfort zone. Usually relievers are two-pitch pitchers. So you've got to grab one zone and one pitch and make sure you don't miss it. That's pretty much the art. That's why you see a lot of veteran guys who are good at it."
The Marlins' record for most pinch-hits in a season is 21, set by Ross Gload in 2009.
Mattison optioned; Petersen likely coming up
MIAMI -- The Marlins are going with a little more backup experience in the outfield.
After Monday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates at Marlins Park, the team announced Kevin Mattison is being optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, where he will get regular playing time in center field.
The team didn't announce who was getting called up. But it is expected to be Bryan Petersen, who is eligible to return after being optioned on May 5.
By league rule, barring filling in for a player going on the disabled list, a player optioned has to wait 10 days before being eligible for a callup. Tuesday is exactly 10 days.
Petersen was not in New Orleans' lineup on Monday.
Mattison, who was called up on Thursday, was hitless in one at-bat.
Petersen, who plays all three outfield spots, opened the season in New Orleans, and he initially joined the Marlins on April 30. In 28 games at New Orleans, the left-handed-hitting outfielder batted .320.
He appeared in four games before being sent down on May 5.
Pitchers keep Marlins in it during close games
MIAMI -- Based on how Marlins starting pitchers have performed, get ready for more frantic finishes.
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen sees it that way.
"It's all about pitching," Guillen said. "Late in the game, don't be surprised if we're going to win or lose late in the games. The reason is our starting pitching is pretty good. You're going to see a lot of bullpen guys losing and winning games."
Sunday was the fifth walk-off win for the Marlins, and it came on the 26th quality start by the rotation.
Carlos Zambrano threw seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) in a no-decision against the Mets.
The Marlins are tied with the Phillies and Nationals for the most quality starts in the Majors. A quality start is at least six innings without allowing more than three earned runs.
Catcher John Buck is impressed with the competitiveness of the rotation.
"It seems like they're going out and keeping us in every ballgame," Buck said. "Sometimes when they don't have their good stuff, they are able to keep us in ballgames. That comes to mind with all of those guys."
The Marlins have a winning record, Buck says, largely because of the pitching. The offense has sputtered, especially with runners in scoring position.
"We're at where we're at because of our pitching," Buck said. "The way we're swinging the bats, and our numbers with guys in scoring position, we have no business I think to be where we are win-wise. I think it's because of our pitching, our bullpen, are keeping us in ballgames. It will be kind of nice to have our bats speak up a little bit."
Confidence key as Miami leads league in steals
MIAMI -- For the Marlins, stealing bases is as much about confidence as it is about ability. Fortunately for them, they have a surplus of both this season.
Miami leads the Majors with 38 stolen bases entering Monday's game against Pittsburgh, with Oakland not too far behind with 34. San Diego is the next-closest team in the National League with 29 steals.
"When you're running the base, you cannot worry about if they're going to throw you out," said Jose Reyes, who is second on the team with nine steals. "If you worry about that, they're going to throw you out every time. You have to go there with the right attitude, thinking that you're going to make it. It's not going to happen every time, but you have to go with that mentality."
That mentality has paid off, as the Marlins are tied with the Phillies for first in the league in success rate on the basepaths at .844, getting caught just seven times in 45 attempts. Philadelphia is 27-for-32 in steal attempts.
A big part of the Marlins' success has been center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who entered Monday leading the league with a perfect 17 steals in 17 attempts. He added to that total in the fourth inning on Monday after an RBI single against the Pirates.
The Cubs' Starlin Castro and the Dodgers' Dee Gordon are second in the Majors with 12 steals. Bonifacio's perfect start set a club record over the weekend, breaking the mark Chuck Carr held since 1994.
"He's got confidence in his ability," first-base and baserunning coach Gary Thurman said of Bonifacio. "The more successful he is, the more confident he is. He's out there. He has no fear. He's consistent. He doesn't give anything away with any extra energy in his body.
"He looks the same whether he is going or not. You can never tell if he is going or he is not going. He doesn't change anything about himself. He doesn't tip his hand."
It has also helped the Marlins that Thurman and manager Ozzie Guillen give them a green light so long as the pitcher doesn't have a quick delivery to the plate, and Thurman makes sure his players know as much as possible before attempting to steal.
"I tell them exactly what I see. ... And whatever they do with the information, they deal with it," Thurman said. "If I think they can make it, I encourage them to go. But it's all up to them and their confidence. I feel the more information they have, the more confidence they have in going."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.