Giancarlo Stanton is smashing records at about the same rate he is home runs in August, and one more blast over the next week will put him in more exclusive company than he is already in. The four-time All-Star takes aim at matching the National League record for most home runs this month on Saturday when the Miami Marlins host the San Diego Padres for the middle contest of a three-game series.
Stanton clubbed his 15th and 16th homers in August during Friday’s 8-6 series-opening victory over San Diego, moving within one home run of matching Willie Mays (1965) and Sammy Sosa (2001) for the most by a NL slugger in the month of August. In addition to helping Miami (64-63) climb within 4 1/2 games of the second wild-card spot, the major-league leader in homers finds himself on the verge of becoming the first NL player to swat 50 in a season since Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder did so in 2007. While the Marlins eye their 12th victory in their last 15 games overall, San Diego hopes it can follow a recent pattern that has seen the team alternate wins and losses over its last seven contests. The Padres are getting solid production lately from the top two hitters in their lineup, as rookies Manuel Margot and Carlos Asuaje are a combined 11-for-18 with three RBIs and seven runs scored over the last two games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, FSN Florida (Miami)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Dinelson Lamet (7-5, 4.84 ERA) vs. Marlins RH Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 4.42)
Lamet struck out eight but struggled with his command in Sunday’s loss to Washington, giving up three runs on three hits and a season-high six walks over 4 2/3 innings to end a four-game winning streak. The 25-year-old rookie has impressed recently for the most part, however, carrying a 2.83 ERA over his last six outings. Lamet is 3-3 with a 5.72 ERA and 51 strikeouts across 39 1/3 innings in eight road turns this season as he makes his first career start against the Marlins.
After posting a 3.95 ERA in nine relief appearances, Despaigne will draw his first start since his season debut on May 6 in search of his first victory since defeating Miami over two years ago. The 30-year-old Cuban worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings at Philadelphia on Wednesday and gets the nod Saturday to help a rotation recovering from Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Phillies. Despaigne faced the team that signed him as a free agent in 2014 twice in relief last season, holding the Padres scoreless in 1 2/3 frames.
1. Stanton needs two homers to tie and three to break Rudy York’s major-league record of 18 home runs in August, set in 1937 with Detroit.
2. Margot is 9-for-17 in four career contests against the Marlins and batting .441 during an eight-game road hitting streak.
3. Miami OF Marcell Ozuna belted a three-run homer Friday to give himself 101 RBIs and the franchise its first pair of 100-RBI sluggers before the end of August.
PREDICTION: Marlins 5, Padres 4