MIAMI — One of Charlie Manuel's favorite shows is Giancarlo Stanton's batting practice. The Phillies manager first noticed it one afternoon at Dolphins Stadium, where the Marlins previously called home. Manuel loves hitting. Stanton makes him woozy.
"He is a guy in their lineup that we fear the most," Manuel said Friday, before a 3-1 victory.
Then, Stanton was not in Miami's lineup. He was scratched shortly before first pitch with a sore left shoulder. Stanton told reporters he will not play Saturday and could sit Sunday, too. He will have an MRI Saturday to determine the extent of the injury.
John Lannan, Friday's starting pitcher, was stretching in the outfield when he learned the news via the giant scoreboard in center field.
"It's a force in the lineup you don't have to deal with," Lannan said.
Not that the Phillies would deal with him anyway. Stanton was originally book-ended in the Miami lineup by Donovan Solano and Placido Polanco. There is no one in the Marlins' depleted lineup with the promise and power of the 23-year-old Stanton.
So why pitch to him?
"We'll see," Manuel said. "There might come a time when you have to pitch to him, but that doesn't mean we want to."
Lannan said the news of Stanton's absence allowed him to change his "approach."
"That was the one guy," Lannan said, "if he is in there, you probably have to pitch around him."
Last season, Stanton hit five of his 37 home runs against the Phillies. (He batted .308/.375/.600 in 72 plate appearances.) He led the majors with a .608 slugging percentage.
Already, in a small sample size, the effects of anchoring a lackluster lineup are evident. Stanton is seeing fewer fastballs, according to data from FanGraphs.com. He has yet to homer in nine games and has three more walks (eight) than hits (five).
It is a difficult situation for one of baseball's brightest young stars. The rest of the National League East will not complain.
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