Slumping Stanton's Goal: ‘Don't Curl Up Into a Ball'

Everything about Giancarlo Stanton is epic: his physique, his contract, the distance of his home runs.

And his latest slump.

The Miami Marlins' $325 million slugger began the week 1 for 21 over the past six games with one single, one walk and 17 strikeouts.

His numbers over the past 15 games weren't much better: 5 for 52 with 28 strikeouts and one RBI.

"I keep working at it," Stanton said before Monday night's game against Tampa Bay. "It's not the ideal place I want to be. But as long as you don't curl up into a ball, you'll be all right."

Manager Don Mattingly agreed.

"Why would he curl up in a ball?" Mattingly said. "He'll be fine. He's a guy I truly don't worry about, because I know the track record is there. It's going to come around."

During the slump, Stanton has been prone to swinging at outside breaking balls. He did manage a line-drive single Sunday to end an 0-for-19 drought.

Stanton began the week batting .211, but Mattingly has resisted the temptation to sit him for a game. The manager said his slugger looked more comfortable during last weekend's series against Washington, and Stanton confirmed that was the case.

"I felt good, and had a bad three days feeling good," Stanton said. "It's going to be magnified in times like this."

With the Marlins' cleanup hitter scuffling, they scored a total of 14 runs while losing series against the Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies.

"If I showed up the last two series, we probably would have won them," Stanton said. "That's a good and not-so-good sign at the same time."

Stanton has 192 career homers, but has always been a streaky hitter. He batted .193 in his first 15 games this year, and then batted .353 with six homers during a 10-game stretch.

Mattingly said he expects Stanton to become more consistent with time.

"He's only 26," Mattingly said. "There's no reason to think your swing can't get better and take little bites out of slumps. Part of that may be better pitch selection, and him understanding when he's not getting pitched to, and being willing to take the walk."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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