04/06/2013 12:46 PM ET
Ruggiano, Marlins focus on playing small ball
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- A handful of games into the season is certainly a small sample size, but the Marlins are starting to understand the big picture.
Aside from Giancarlo Stanton, the lineup is not built for power. So to generate runs, it will take a collective effort.
On Friday night, the Marlins did just that with a five-run seventh frame -- taking walks, bunting and getting some timely two-out hits in a 7-5 win over the Mets at Citi Field. It was their first multi-run inning of the season.
"We're going to score runs," said Justin Ruggiano, who had two hits and two RBIs in the game. "We're going to manufacture runs. I think with our team, we're going to have to start playing small ball. That's what we're going to have to do. I know we're all open to it."
The one exception, of course, is Stanton, who has the luxury of trying to drive the ball a long way every time up.
"We don't expect him to [play small ball], anyways," Ruggiano said.
As for the rest of the lineup, look for an emphasis on the basics.
"Hitting and running, bunting, whatever it takes to put up runs," Ruggiano said. "At the end of the day, that's how you win games.
"We can't play for the big inning. We don't have guys who are going to hit 25-to-30 home runs throughout our lineup. We have to do the small things. It's going to come around."
Stanton looks to heat up at plate
NEW YORK -- Good or bad, everything tends to get magnified early in the season.
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is going through that right now. The All-Star right fielder has yet to heat up at the plate.
Through the first four games, he was 2-for-14 with seven strikeouts. Both hits were doubles, including a laser to deep center field in the eighth inning of Friday's 7-5 win over the Mets at Citi Field.
"I'm fine," Stanton said. "I've had bad stretches before. Obviously, it's magnified more because it's the beginning. But I'm fine."
It's important to emphasize that Stanton is completely healthy.
A year ago, he missed most of Spring Training with a sore knee. Stanton ended up batting .247 with one home run and nine RBIs in 73 at-bats in April of 2012. But in May, he bounced back, hitting .343 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs, and he was named the National League Player of the Month.
"Everybody wants to get off to a great start," manager Mike Redmond said. "Sometimes as players, we try to do too much and maybe get out of our approach a little bit.
"Also saying that, he's had some walks. Sometimes one good swing gets you back on track. That ball he hit [Friday] was a laser beam."
Redmond figuring out each reliever's role
NEW YORK -- Aside from closer Steve Cishek, roles in the Marlins' bullpen are evolving.
Who sets up in the eighth inning one day may not be the same in the next game.
"We're trying to kind of figure where everybody fits out there," manager Mike Redmond said. "We always talk about roles. What role is this guy going to be in? That's what we're trying to figure out -- where guys fit. We've got some young [guys] in there."
In Friday's 7-5 win over the Mets at Citi Field, rookie A.J. Ramos worked the eighth inning. Veteran Chad Qualls pitched in the seventh.
Ryan Webb and Jon Rauch also can match up anywhere from the sixth to eighth innings. Mike Dunn is the lone lefty, and he could also be used in those frames.
"I'm not afraid to fire those guys into any situation, trying to figure out what we've got and what guys can handle what situation," Redmond said.
Ultimately, performance will decide.
"You talk about roles for pitchers," Redmond said. "Your role as a pitcher, when you get in there, it's to get guys out. That's everybody's role. Obviously, guys who get guys out become those guys who fill those seventh- and eighth-inning roles."