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Even when Giancarlo Stanton was mired in an extended hitless slump, manager Don Mattingly didn't feel the Miami Marlins were better without him in the lineup.
It's likely just a coincidence that they've won the last two with Stanton sitting out, but at least they're finally showing they can produce offensively when he's not around.
Stanton might not play again Friday night against Atlanta. The visiting Marlins could get Christian Yelich back, though, as they open a three-game set against the Braves.
A sore right side kept Stanton on the bench Wednesday and Thursday as the Marlins (25-22) pulled out 4-3 and 9-1 victories over Tampa Bay. Stanton, batting just .214, had hit safely in three straight following an 0-for-17 drought.
Miami didn't seem to miss him in the series finale as Adeiny Hechavarria and Chris Johnson homered in a makeshift lineup. Hechavarria led off, Marcell Ozuna hit third and J.T. Realmuto batted cleanup - spots in which they hadn't appeared all season.
Ozuna had two hits and has reached base in 33 straight, one short of the franchise record.
"We've talked all year that we've got to find a way, every day, no matter what," Mattingly said. "No matter what lineup we throw out there, no matter who's pitching, no matter who we are facing, we have to try and find a way to put wins on the board every day, and we are capable of doing that. We look at our lineup and see a bunch of guys who can hit - from Yeli and Big G, but also Justin Bour and Marcell and Hechy can hit, J.T. can hit, (Martin) Prado can hit. We have a lot of guys who can give you good at-bats."
Yelich missed his sixth straight because of back spasms, but Mattingly said he expects him to play at some point this weekend against the Braves (12-34). Adam Conley will be tasked with shutting down Atlanta in the opener.
Conley (3-3, 4.15 ERA) is coming off an awful start after allowing six runs and walking seven - three intentionally - in 5 1/3 innings of Sunday's 8-2 loss to Washington.
The left-hander has walked 23 in 47 2/3 innings over nine starts.
"Putting a guy on for free is about my least favorite thing in baseball," Conley said. "And seven of those guys got on in my eyes without earning it. That's a hard pill to swallow."
Conley walked four while allowing six runs in eight innings over one start and one relief appearance against the Braves last season. This time he'll oppose Williams Perez, who is coming off one of his better outings.
Perez (2-1, 3.86) took a no-hitter into the seventh and allowed two hits in 6 1/3 innings of Saturday's 2-0 win over Philadelphia on his 25th birthday, marking the third time in four starts he's allowed one run or none.
"He was outstanding," interim manager Brian Snitker said. "The aggression, attacking the strike zone. Under adverse (weather) conditions, it didn't bother him. He kept throwing."
Perez had a rough outing against Miami on April 16, though. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in Atlanta's 6-3 win.
The Braves have lost all four games since Perez's victory. They've totaled five runs during that skid after falling 6-2 to Milwaukee on Thursday, managing only Tyler Flowers' two-run homer in the first inning.
Earlier in the day, outfielder Hector Olivera was suspended 82 games, retroactive to April 30. Olivera was arrested April 13 at a hotel outside Washington, D.C., charged with assault and battery of a woman and immediately placed on leave.