8/26/2014 2:14 A.M. ET
Red-hot Ozuna cleans up; McGehee down to fifth
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- There is no disputing the impact Casey McGehee has made on the Marlins' lineup. The veteran has offered a professional approach, driving in huge runs all season and providing protection in the cleanup spot behind Giancarlo Stanton.
But since the All-Star break, McGehee had driven in just eight runs entering Monday, including two in August.
With McGehee hitting .247 in August, manager Mike Redmond opted to make a change with his No. 4 hitter. Marcell Ozuna entered on a nine-game tear, batting .405 with three homers, four doubles and 11 RBIs. So in the series opener on Monday at Anaheim Stadium, Ozuna was moved to the cleanup spot for the first time all season. McGehee, who hit fourth in 114 games, was dropped to fifth.
Ozuna drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and McGehee plated a run with a single in Miami's 7-1 series-opening victory.
"You always think about that, are you giving the guy [Ozuna] too much?" Redmond said before the game. "But at the end of the day, the numbers are the numbers. He's hitting and he's driving in runs. Hopefully he continues that. We've got nothing to lose. We're trying to win ballgames and score runs."
After dropping two of three at Colorado, the Marlins' playoff hopes took a hit. There is a sense of urgency to get more production.
Ozuna entered Monday second to Stanton on the team in homers (19) and RBIs (70).
"When he's going good, you want him up to the plate with the most guys on base," Redmond said. "He's been hitting. He's been driving in runs and getting big hits. It seems like a perfect time to get our hottest hitter hitting behind 'G.'
"We've had a tough time driving in those runs. We need to drive runs in to win those ballgames."
Ozuna, 23, has been used up and down Miami's lineup. Before Monday, the only spots he didn't hit was leadoff and cleanup. But in the Minor Leagues, he had experience cleaning up. As a rookie last year, he appeared in 41 games in the No. 4 spot. He batted .255 with no homers and 13 RBIs.
Having Stanton hitting third and Ozuna fourth could be a preview of next season's middle of the order.
McGehee, who has one more season left in arbitration, is expected to return to Miami next year.
The 31-year-old has enjoyed a strong season, batting .295 with 62 RBIs.
"Guys go through spurts or funks, and he's probably in a little bit of that right now," Redmond said. "But at the end of the day, the guy has done a great job for us. He's had a ton of big hits for us."
Stanton, Trout offer praise before first meeting
ANAHEIM -- More than an Interleague series is taking place at Angel Stadium this week. The three-game set that began on Monday very well might be matching two players that will go on to win their respective league's Most Valuable Player Awards.
For the first time in the regular season, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Mike Trout of the Angels were on the same field. The only other occasion they were together was at the All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota.
Trout and Stanton are two of the young faces of Major League Baseball.
"I think it's great for baseball," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "You've got two dynamic young players playing on the same field. I know I'm excited to watch and be part of it. Hopefully our guy puts on great show."
Stanton, 24, is enjoying his finest season -- batting .299 while pacing the National League in home runs (32) and RBIs (94).
Trout, 23, is hitting .289 with 29 homers and 91 RBIs. He's widely regarded as the best all-around player in the sport.
Stanton praises Trout's vast talents.
"It's the future of the game with him," Stanton said. "He can do stuff on the baseball field not too many people can. And if they can, they can only do one aspect of it. And he can do all of it."
Stanton is regarded as the most powerful slugger in the game. But the man with the home run measured the longest this season by ESPN's Home Run Tracker is Trout.
On June 27, Trout belted a drive measured at 489 feet. Stanton is second at 484 feet, a home run he hit at Marlins Park on April 4.
Stanton's average distance per homer, according to Home Run Tracker, is 417.1 feet. Technically, that is second to Mike Morse of the Giants, who averages 417.4 feet for his 16 homers.
Trout's average is 413.5 feet.
While Trout has the longest homer of the season, Stanton has three drives in the top eight. On Aug. 11, the Marlins right fielder had a home run measured at 470 feet (sixth farthest), and earlier in the season, he had another at 469 feet (eighth).
Stanton has 10 "no-doubt" homers, to Trout's seven.
When discussing Stanton, Trout paraphrased David Price, who has noted that the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Stanton is like a player created in a video game.
Stanton laughs at the analogy.
"I remember I'd create players back in the day," Stanton said. "That would be football, though. They'd be 100 on all cylinders, on all attributes."
Being a real-life video game figure doesn't bother Stanton a bit.
"Hey, why not?" he said.
• The rotation for the Marlins' weekend series at Atlanta will be Tom Koehler (Friday), Jarred Cosart (Saturday) and Nathan Eovaldi (Sunday). With an off-day on Thursday, the Marlins won't need a fifth starter until Monday. Brad Hand and Brad Penny are the options.