MIAMI -- Marlins rookie outfielder Christian Yelich is among the hottest hitters in the National League, entering Sunday batting .349 in August. His 22 hits were tied with San Francisco's Brandon Belt and St. Louis' Matt Carpenter for the sixth most in the National League in the month.
Over the next few days, the left-handed-hitting rookie is about to be severely tested. In four of their next five games, the Marlins will face left-handed starting pitching, including Madison Bumgarner on Sunday.
While Yelich batted .300 in his first 100 MLB at-bats, his splits are dramatically different. Against right-handers, he hit .364, compared to .176 while facing a southpaw.
But Yelich has always been a pure hitter who over time, the team believes, will hit for average regardless of who is on the mound.
His approach to lefties?
"No different if it's lefty or righty, I'm still trying to look for a pitch to hit," he said. "I kind of have the same approach against every guy. I try not to make it any more complicated than that. When you do that, I think it takes you out of your game. If you approach it like, 'It's a lefty, I'm going to do something different here,' it doesn't work."
Stanton working to find hitting groove
MIAMI -- One thunderous home run doesn't fix an entire season, but it's a start. At least Giancarlo Stanton is hopeful it is a sign his at-bats are turning in the right direction.
Stanton crushed a two-run homer off Matt Cain on Saturday in the Marlins' 6-4 loss to the Giants at Marlins Park. The blast was his first since July 28 against Pittsburgh, a span of 59 at-bats.
"It's not going to come overnight, when you're that far out of whack," Stanton said. "It's a process. I don't have too long, but I have a few weeks to turn it around."
Miami's main power threat, Stanton has labored through his roughest big league season. The slugger is batting .238 with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs. In the 17 games he played from July 28 to Saturday, Stanton hit at a .175 clip (11-for-63) with three doubles, two homers, five RBIs and 21 strikeouts.
Stanton's focus in the final six weeks is to make as much progress as possible. The slugger is working with interim hitting coach John Pierson on a number of different drills, just to try new ideas. His objective is to generate more backspin, which he certainly showed when he blistered his two-run shot Saturday.
"It's a little better," he said. "I'm getting more backspin, my normal backspin, like I should have. Before I was topspinning things and cutting my swing off. That's the main focus now, just to backspin the ball."
With Pierson, Stanton is working on basically staying back and letting the pitch arrive rather than getting too antsy trying to reach for it.
"We're doing some different drills, just switching it up," Stanton said.
Stanton is one of the strongest players in the league, and he's the most feared presence in the lineup. He's also tended to put too much pressure on himself in hopes of carrying a young team.
Gradually, the Marlins are starting to see strides being made in batting practice as well as in the game, where he's had some sharply hit balls the past few games, even if some have been outs.
"His batting practices have gotten a whole lot better," manager Mike Redmond said. "It looks like his approach has gotten better, and I think he's getting there. It looks like he's more confident and his swing is getting better."
Redmond weighs in on expanded replay
MIAMI -- If it means getting the calls right, then Marlins manager Mike Redmond is all for video replay.
It's inevitable that expanded replay is on the way, after MLB announced Thursday the framework of a challenge system. The initial plan calls for each manager having one challenge for the first six innings and two challenges after the seventh inning.
"Get the calls right," Redmond said. "I think the biggest question as always is going to be the pace of the play."
Another issue Redmond sees is the vantage point from the dugout.
"There are a lot of times as a manager, when I'm sitting here, I can't see the ball down the right-field line," Redmond said. "If that ball is fair and he calls it foul, then I'm going to have to rely on somebody telling me, 'Hey, that ball is fair or foul.'"
With improved technology, replay can be an advantage in a sport where playoff berths can be decided by one game.
No matter what system is put in place, there still will be questions.
"What if you have more than one play in the first six innings?" the Miami manager said. "What if there are three, and you only have one challenge? What if there are five? There are just a lot of questions. I'm sure those will all be answered throughout this process."
• Placido Polanco, plunked on the helmet by a pitch Friday night, remained out of the starting lineup Sunday. It continued to be for precautionary reasons, to give him a few days to recover. Ed Lucas started at third base Sunday.
• Justin Ruggiano got the start in center field Sunday in place of rookie Jake Marisnick. Ruggiano was 6-for-8 in his last two games, although Marisnick played Saturday.