When the Marlins swept the Giants May 24-26, they were 10 games over .500 and two games behind the first-place Phillies.
Florida entered Sunday 32-39 and in last in the National League East, 12 1/2 games behind Philadelphia. Entering the series finale at Tropicana Field, the Marlins lost 20 of 23 since leaving San Francisco and won just one game in June.
"The main guys were out there -- JJ [Josh Johnson] was out there. Hanley [Ramirez] was out there, so, 'If anybody has to get a hit, he's the guy to get a hit,'" Rodriguez said. "'If he's not getting the hit, then I'm getting the hit. No one's paying attention to what I'm trying to do. If anybody has to be the ace, JJ should be the one.' They don't feel like, 'I have to step up.' It's the same time, same players, just different mentalities and different approaches."
Rodriguez believed that the team was missing a key veteran presence that the franchise has had in the past, such as Luis Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado and Darren Daulton.
"We're lacking that veteran presence that will come and say, 'Guys we have to step back and have some fun,'" Rodriguez said. "There's only so much a coach or manager can say about that. But coming from a player, among them, it will be different."
Before Dewayne Wise's contract was selected from Triple-A New Orleans, the Marlins' starting outfield consisted of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton -- none of whom had played an entire Major League season.
"I think 100 percent it's in their heads, especially when you have LoMo hitting third, Gaby [Sanchez] hitting fourth," Rodriguez said. "They're young guys, and they feel like they have to be the guys. ... They feel like they have to be the one carrying the team."
Rodriguez said that he wished members of the media could be in the dugout when players came back in after failing to drive in runners with scoring position.
On their 0-6 road trip entering Sunday, the Marlins were just 4-for-37 with RISP, and Rodriguez had continued to say that his players were "battling."
"They're shaking because they're upset, they're mad. 'Breathe in, breathe out.' And literally I've been like that," Rodriguez said. "There are some guys here, we have to tell them, 'Listen. Calm down. Calm down.' Their faces are all red and they're looking to breathe."
In the end, Rodriguez might have run out of ideas on how to get his players out of their funk.
"A lot of things like talking to them individually, talking to them as a group, yelling, screaming, throwing things around, meditation, but it's a young team," Rodriguez said. "People don't realize or don't want to realize that it's a young team, but it has an effect."