Casey McGehee is not used to struggling, especially after a solid first half.
McGehee, who the Marlins signed as a free agent as he made his return to Major League Baseball after a stint in Japan, was one of Miami's most consistent offensive contributors in the first half of the season. The Marlins were confident in his ability to protect Giancarlo Stanton, and he did so, having at one point led the National League in average with runners in scoring position.
While he has been solid defensively at third base, McGehee was batting just .228 with seven RBIs following the All-Star break heading into Wednesday afternoon's contest. And in Tuesday's 4-3 ten inning victory over Texas, McGehee snapped his bat and threw it down after striking out.
McGehee went 0-for-5 on Tuesday which was followed by an 0-for-4 performance on Wednesday afternoon.
"I was just frustrated. Obviously a big spot in the game. I just really wasn't happy with the at-bat I put out there. At the end of the day I have to be a little more grown up than that. At the same time I feel like part of my plan is the fact I kind of live and die on every pitch. Every once and a while it gets the better of me. In hindsight I wish I would have handled myself a little better. But it's coming from the right place. "
Miami's offense has been significantly better when compared with that of the 2013 squad, and a lot of that has to do with McGehee. He is a veteran who in the first half of the year carried the heart of the order following Stanton.
In addition to his recent slump, McGehee's frustration could also be the result of a lack of power. While he is not thought of as a Stanton-type power hitter, McGehee has just three home runs on the year.
The Marlins have found ways to win ballgames of late, and though McGehee has remained in the lineup, his production has been limited. After a hot start, McGehee has also grounded into numerous doubles plays in key moments.
Considering the hot bats of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich of late, McGehee's lack of production has not plagued the Marlins' offense. But it has changed teams' appraoch when pitching to Stanton.
For almost all of the first half, with men on base, Stanton was walked and McGehee delivered an RBI hit. Opponents have in recent weeks felt better about their chances when walking Stanton to get to McGehee.
McGehee may receive a rare day off if his troubles persist. But when his bat begins to warm up, the Marlins will likely be in a good spot with him hitting behind one of baseball's best young stars.
Miami's success in close games is indicative of a solid bullpen. And if the Marlins want to remain in contention, the relievers will have to continue to pitch well.