5/4/2014 6:51 P.M. ET
Marlins going deep early at spacious Marlins Park
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- No one will confuse Marlins Park with the "Homer Dome," the former home of the Minnesota Twins, the Metrodome. But Miami's retractable-roof stadium certainly has been friendly confines for the Marlins in the early part of the season.
Miami tacked on three more homers at home on Sunday in its 5-4 win over the Dodgers.
Giancarlo Stanton belted two, and Christian Yelich delivered one. The Marlins now have 33 home runs total, and 21 have come at Marlins Park.
To put that number in perspective, a year ago, Miami finished with 36 total home runs at Marlins Park. So the club is more than halfway there five weeks into the season.
With a more experienced lineup, the club expected to be more productive at the plate. They thought they'd get more power throughout. So far, it is happening. Stanton has 10 homers on the season, with seven at home.
A year ago, the Marlins had trouble hitting the ball out of any park, as they finished with a league-low 95 home runs.
"The difference between here and the road is we're being more relaxed, I'd say," Stanton said.
Even away, Miami has hit its share of home runs -- 12 in 12 games.
What the club is striving for is more balanced production on the road.
Part of the road struggles, the team says, is players get overly anxious hitting in smaller parks.
"I think that's true, we're trying to catch up with the big numbers on the road and see where it gets you," Stanton said. "Here, you kind of eliminate the thought of that, and think gap to gap."
Stanton notes that because Marlins Park plays big, sometimes visiting hitters get out of their own approaches.
"Maybe some people who come in here think, 'I've got to muscle up to get it out of here,'" the slugger said.
Capps' impressive fastball on the radar
MIAMI -- The roar of the crowd on Saturday night got louder with each radar reading posted on the scoreboard.
In the seventh and eighth innings, Miami reliever Carter Capps was riling up the fans with fastballs that reached 99, 100 and as much as 101 mph.
Capps tries to block out distractions and stay focused on throwing strikes and getting batters out.
"You can tell the crowd gets loud," Capps said Sunday. "I don't know if it is somebody streaking on the field or they're doing the wave, or what."
The "what" on Saturday night was Capps' blazing fastballs in the seventh and eighth innings of Miami's 9-7 loss to the Dodgers in a game that lasted 11 innings.
"I'm just trying to get guys out," Capps said. "That's all that matters."
On a night the Marlins lost a tough game, Capps became a story lost in the overall story of the night.
Miami is looking for late-inning relief consistency. Capps could become an option.
The right-hander retired all six he faced, with three strikeouts.
Capps was acquired last December from Seattle for Logan Morrison.
The reports on Capps before the trade were he had a power arm, but his delivery is a bit unorthodox, and throwing strikes was at times an issue.
At the time of the trade, the Marlins noted they discovered an issue with Capps mechanics. In Spring Training, he worked with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius.
Because his mechanics were still being ironed out, Capps opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, where he had a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings with 17 strikeouts and six walks.
"I was definitely disappointed," Capps said of not making the Opening Day roster. "But I obviously had things I needed to clean up with my delivery. I understand the organization's decision."
New Orleans pitching coach Charlie Corbell is credited with helping Capps clean up some issues with his tempo and arm slot.
"It was right there at the end of spring, and I carried it into the season," Capps said. "I was ready to go from the get-go at New Orleans. "
Beckett recalls time in Miami before Marlins Park
MIAMI -- There was a time when Josh Beckett and the rest of the Marlins rotation used to dread making starts on Tuesday.
Not that they were opposed to pitching early in the week, but it impacted what would happen five days later.
"I remember during the season, you didn't want a Tuesday game," said Beckett, who pitched for the Marlins from 2001-05. "The only reason you didn't want a Tuesday game was because that meant the next time you pitched was a Sunday. Everybody was like, 'Who's got Tuesday's start?'"
When the Marlins shared Pro Player Stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins, Sunday's were afternoon games. In Miami, that meant the possibility of scorching heat mixed with the possibility of rain.
During the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship season, home field became an advantage in the sense other teams tended to wilt in the late innings of day games.
"We talked about the heat and we were used to it, and it really helped us out down the stretch in '03 against teams like the Phillies," Beckett said. "Guys would come down here and they couldn't do seven or eight innings. To us, we were conditioned for it."
Now a few days shy of turning 34, Beckett is on the back end of his impressive career. The right-hander is pitching for the Dodgers, and he pitched the series opener on Friday night against the Marlins.
The 2003 World Series MVP, Beckett remains one of the all-time most popular Marlins.
He was a brash, hard-throwing right-hander in the early part of his career. And he recalls the days of rainouts and stifling heat at the Marlins old park.
In terms of helping boost attendance, Beckett feels Marlins Park should be an advantage.
"It can't hurt to get people here, or keep people here," Beckett said. "How many times did you start out a game at Pro Player Stadium with 20,000 people there and you end the game with 300? People don't want to sit in the rain, or the seat."
Furcal to be further evaluated after latest setback
MIAMI -- For the second time in a week, Rafael Furcal has been returned from his rehab assignment.
After experiencing a second setback, the 36-year-old will head to the Marlins' complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he will be further evaluated.
Furcal is sidelined with a strained right groin, an injury he first incurred a week ago, and was again aggravated while playing for Double-A Jacksonville on Friday night.
"I think he wants to play so badly that he probably is pushing it before it's 100 percent," Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said. "In doing it, you run that risk."
Furcal opened the season on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. But at Jacksonville, he aggravated his groin on April 25, leading to him being returned from his first rehab assignment two days later.
Miami sent Furcal back out for his second rehab assignment, which began Friday.
The Marlins signed Furcal to be their regular second baseman, but he has been on the disabled list all season.
For now, the team wants him to get healthy, and not push a return date.
"At 36, and being that veteran player, you've got to lean on him some in that decision process," Jennings said. "In his desire to come back, he's probably stretched himself a little more than he needs to."