Marlins' Stanton goes for No. 60 against Braves

(TSX / STATS) -- MIAMI -- In the year of the home run, the major league leader goes after No. 60 on Saturday at Marlins Park.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton looks to reach that milestone in Saturday's game against the Atlanta Braves.

It is the next-to-last game of the 2017 season, one that has seen the smashing of the record of 5,693 homers set back in 2000.

"That's a lot of home runs," said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who has seen some big home run hitters in his time both as player and manager. "For the longest time, 60 was that number. It's a big number. Fifty is a huge number."

No single player has hit at least 60 homers since the 2001 season when two players accomplished the feat. That was the year Barry Bonds set the all-time record with 73 home runs. In addition, Sammy Sosa swatted 64 homers that year as well.

"A couple of games left, he gets hot, who knows (how many he could end up with)," Mattingly added.

Stanton, who hit two homers in the series opener on Thursday, had no homers on Friday in four trips to the plate. However, he was a key contributor in the 6-5 comeback victory over the Braves. Stanton delivered a single, double, drove in a run and scored two more.

The Marlins will face Braves right-hander Lucas Sims (3-5, 4.85 ERA). The rookie will be making his 10th career start and first in Marlins Park. He has faced Miami three times, including one start, with all three games taking place in Atlanta, compiling a record of 0-1 and a 4.82 ERA.

Sims worked six innings on Aug. 6 in his only start against the Marlins, allowing four runs on six hits, including home runs to Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto. Stanton is 1-for-4 (single) lifetime against Lucas, who won his last start, going a career-high 6 2/3 innings on Sept. 25 against the Mets in New York.

"I felt good sticking with my game plan," Sims told the media following his latest outing. "All the experience that I've had so far, (I was able to) learn from it. I thought we had a good plan of attack and we executed it for the most part."

Odrisamer Despaigne gets the nod for the Marlins. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 games this season, including seven starts. He picked up his first win of the year in his last outing, a six-inning stint at Colorado on Monday. Despaigne gave up just two runs on seven hits. He turned in a very efficient 91-pitch outing, striking out three without walking a batter.

In three career appearances against the Braves, including two starts, Despaigne is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA over 9 1/3 innings. He got no decision in his only outing against the Braves this season, a Sept. 10 start in Atlanta. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on four hits and a season-high six walks.


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