Miami Marlins' first baseman Garrett Jones was signed to drive in runs. And while he got off to a slow start and watched Casey McGehee slide into the cleanup spot, Jones has been significantly productive of late.
Jones early in 2014 has posted a .273/.339/.472 line and has proven that he can piece together good at bats from the number five spot. Miami added Jones to protect Giancarlo Stanton in thier lineup, and although he has struggled against lefties, has been a valuable asset.
Jones pounded out four of the Marlins' six hits in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Phillies, including two doubles down the right-field line with two RBI. It was his first four-hit game since Aug. 13, 2012 against the Dodgers and since May 12, Jones has at least one hit in seven of eight games.
The left-handed pull hitter has gone 13-for-31 (.419) with five doubles, a triple and a home run to raise his average from .238 to .273.
Jones has been one of the few Marlins lefties to attempt to bunt or hit into the shift, and while he is batting just .205 against left-handed pitchers, has driven the ball to all fields. Miami's offense was inconsistent on the 4-7 roadtrip, but Jones' bat remained hot as he piled up the extra base hits.
In Pittsburgh last season, Jones batted a mere .233 but drove in 51 runs. In 43 games this years, Jones has driven in 21, reflecting his ability to be patient and draw a walk when necessary.
"I got two bloops, some balls I hit well,'' smiled Jones, 32, who was signed to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million last December. "That's what happens when you put the ball in play; balls fall in. Those are always nice games to have, but unfortunately we didn't get the win.''
Among the regulars on the Marlins, Jones is second behind Giancarlo Stanton with 19 extra-base hits, and tied with him for the team lead with 12 doubles.
While his recent offensive success was evident in Tuesday's loss to the Phillies, Jones' recently consistent production has taken pressure off of both Stanton and McGehee, who have both performed well with runners in scoring position.
"We saw him coming here to be a huge difference-maker in our lineup and everyone's getting to see what type of player he is and how much ability he brings to our ballclub,'' Redmond said.
The production of Jones has assisted the offense in a necessary way, taking pressure off of the heart of the order. Despite the fact that he may no longer be hitting cleanup, Jones' hot bat has contributed to the offensive turnaround.