Approach paying off at home for Marlins hitters

Approach paying off at home for Marlins hitters

MIAMI -- Marlins Park, often lamented by hitters because of its expansive dimensions, has become a distinct home-field advantage for the Marlins.

The numbers are showing it.

At 11-4, the Marlins have the most home wins in the Majors. San Francisco, through the end of April, had 10. Miami's 94 runs scored also are the most of any team at home this season.

No one is saying Marlins Park is the new Coors Field, but the Marlins have constructed a lineup and are following hitting coach Frank Menechino's plan of using the gaps to their advantage, not their detriment.

"I think maybe we're starting to see a comfort level at home," manager Mike Redmond said. "We pitch to this ballpark and we're starting to hit to this ballpark. I think guys are more relaxed here."

Marlins Park can be frustrating to hitters, especially if they test the middle of the field and try to belt home runs. Often, long drives result in loud 400-foot outs.

Thus far, the focus of hitting the ball hard and looking for line drives is generating impressive numbers.

In 15 home games through April, the Marlins batted .307 with 94 runs, 34 doubles, five triples and 13 home runs.

A year ago, Miami labored to score runs any place. At home was a real challenge. At this point last year, when they also played 15 home games, the Marlins batted .202 with 37 runs, 14 doubles, one triple and seven home runs.

The next step for this year's club is striving to achieve the same approach on the road.

"It's simple," Menechino said. "We've got to have a base-hit mentality at home. Take our doubles, singles, score those runs. And whatever happens happens. We can't be afraid to hit at home.

"They jumped on board on the bandwagon, and they ran off with it. Now the opposite has happened that I didn't think would happen. Now, we get on the road, and it's like, 'Ahh, now I'm going to try to get some numbers.' I think it's because it's the beginning of the season and guys are trying to get some numbers. They didn't think they could get them [at home]. On the road, they get jumpy. Just a couple of guys. That's all it takes is a couple of guys, because hitting is contagious."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter