As Ken Griffey Jr. remains stuck on 599 career homers, his Reds hope to extend their recent mastery of the Marlins and their struggling pitching staff as these teams meet Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.
A home run away from becoming the sixth player to reach 600, Griffey has gone five consecutive games without homering, though two were pinch-hitting appearances.
“I don’t think about it,” Griffey said of the milestone on Friday.
It would be somewhat surprising if it happened Saturday. Besides having never homered off any current Marlins relievers, he has never faced Florida’s scheduled starter, left-hander Scott Olsen, and Griffey has only one homer in 68 at-bats this season against lefties.
Griffey did go 2-for-3 with a double on Friday in the opener of this four-game series as the Reds collected 17 hits in an 11-3 victory.
“Everybody that was wearing a Marlins uniform had a rough night,” Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Including the final series between the teams last season, Cincinnati has won seven in a row over the Marlins while scoring 57 runs and batting .333 with 16 doubles, two triples and 11 homers.
Brandon Phillips has keyed Cincinnati’s offense during this win streak over Florida, going 13-for-28 (.464) with three homers and 10 RBIs. Phillips, who entered this series in a 6-for-37 slump (.162), is a career .357 hitter against the Marlins with 19 RBIs in 17 games.
Teammate Jerry Hairston is 8-for-14 with six runs in four meetings with Florida this season. He had three hits on Saturday, Phillips had two and each drove in two runs.
Jay Bruce had never faced the Marlins until Friday and he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. The rookie phenom, who had been hitless in his last two games, raised his average to .463 since being called up from the minors on May 27.
“I just try to stay with a consistent approach,” Bruce said. “I’m trying not to change anything. A lot of people have told me the game’s just the same. It’s just bigger stands, better uniforms, superstars, stuff like that.”
Bruce’s latest impressive performance came against a Florida staff which has been ripped for 97 hits in the last 10 games while posting a 6.90 ERA. The Marlins are 2-8 in that span after winning six of seven.
Olsen (4-2, 3.72 ERA) has failed to pitch past the sixth inning in five consecutive outings, recording a 6.49 ERA while allowing eight homers. The Marlins have lost his last three starts after winning eight of his first nine.
The third-year left-hander gave up two solo homers in his lone career start versus Cincinnati - one to Phillips - but those were the only runs he allowed in seven innings as he got the win in Florida’s 10-2 victory on July 20, 2007.
Giving up the longball cost Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo (4-5, 5.61 ERA) in his last start, and now he will try to shut down a Florida offense which is second in the majors with 89 home runs. However, he threw seven scoreless innings in a 7-6, 10-inning win over the Marlins on May 14.
Arroyo had not allowed a homer in five straight starts before serving up three on Monday in Philadelphia, where he went 4 1-3 innings as he was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in a 5-4 defeat.
“I didn’t have good command or good stuff,” Arroyo said. “I didn’t have much of anything.”
The right-hander had been 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his previous five outings. He is 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six games, including three starts, versus Florida.