Lack of situational hitting pivotal to last-place finish

Lack of situational hitting pivotal to last-place finish

Lack of situational hitting pivotal to last-place finish
MIAMI -- Breakdowns in so many areas have led to the Marlins' last-place record.

Over the course of the season, the Marlins have had lapses in hitting, pitching and defense. They've let leads slip away late in games, and failed to knock in runs when the opposition is giving it to them.

To manager Ozzie Guillen, the most glaring weakness of the team has been hitting with runners in scoring position. The team simply underperformed in that aspect of their situational hitting.

"This year, you could put a lot of points on why we lost -- a lot, starting with me," Guillen said. "But I think the thing that killed this ballclub from April all the way to now is we don't bring the guys in for easy RBIs.

"That's something we got to work on in Spring Training, something we have to get better at, because if we don't get better at that, we'll be in last place again."

For the season, the Marlins are batting .234 with runners in scoring position, which ranks 26th in the Majors. The Braves rank last in the Majors with runners in scoring position, at .231, but Atlanta ranks in the middle of the pack (15th) in runs scored with 694.

The Marlins have scored 600 runs, which is 28th in the game. Only the Mariners (597) and Astros (573) have scored fewer.

Miami's lineup, of course, has been depleted. The team traded away Hanley Ramirez and Omar Infante in July. And regulars like Emilio Bonifacio and Logan Morrison have been out with injuries.

Giancarlo Stanton, the club's biggest threat, has also missed substantial time.

"Right now, we don't have a great hitting ballclub," Guillen said. "But if every day, at least once a day we do what we're supposed to do, it might be the difference between 10 games, five games, six games. We got to get better at [runners in scoring position]."