Giancarlo Stanton says “the fire is not there” with Marlins

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After dropping back-to-back games to the Mets, the Marlins are now off to a disappointing 3-8 start this season. There’s still a long way to go, but Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com after last night’s loss that he’s not happy with what he’s seeing so far:

“We’re not really giving ourselves a chance, it feels like,” Stanton said. “We’ve got a positive vibe, but [something] is just not there. The fire is not there, it seems like. You always want to have it. But when you’re out there, and it’s game time, it’s just nothing there — it seems like.”

Miami has dropped the first two of four to the red-hot Mets, winners of six straight. After each of Stanton’s first-inning homers, the Mets each night seized momentum in the mid to late innings.

“The game is nine innings,” Stanton said. “It’s not two, three. It doesn’t matter if it’s the fifth through the seventh, or the seventh through the ninth. It’s not two innings, it’s nine. We’re not playing nine.”

The Marlins managed to lock up Stanton to a massive long-term deal over the winter while making some high-profile additions like Dee Gordon, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Martin Prado, and Michael Morse. The offseason activity made them a trendy pick for a Wild Card spot with many pundits, but Latos is off to a rough start and Henderson Alvarez is currently sidelined with shoulder inflammation, so their rotation looks shaky at the moment. Jose Fernandez is due to back at some point later this season, but it’s hard to know what to expect from someone coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Marlins this weekend, as they are slated to face Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey over the next two days.

Giants activate Hunter Strickland

Hunter Strickland
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Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.

Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.

Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.