Stanton close to milestone as Marlins end year vs. Braves

(TSX / STATS) -- MIAMI -- It all happens on Sunday -- Giancarlo Stanton's last chance to reach 60 homers as well as the season finale for his Miami Marlins and the visiting Atlanta Braves.

And it could be a sad ending for Marlins fans, too, as speculation persists that this could be Stanton's final game as a member of the Miami organization.

It may seem preposterous for the Marlins to trade Stanton after a season where he will likely be named MVP of the National League.

But with the new ownership team coming in -- led by Bruce Sherman and former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter -- the talk has been of shedding payroll, and Stanton's $25-million annual salary makes an enticing target.

Stanton has a no-trade clause in his contract, but he told Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com that he wants no part of a tear-it-down project.

"I don't want to rebuild," Stanton told Heyman. "I've lost for seven years."

Stanton, though, isn't the only Marlins hitter having a noteworthy year.

Second baseman Dee Gordon on Saturday went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two steals. He reached 60 steals for the year.

Gordon also became just the third player in Marlins history to reach 200 hits in one season, joining Juan Pierre and Hanley Ramirez. Only Pierre and Gordon had 200 hits and 60-plus steals in a season.

In addition, Gordon tied his career high with his 59th multi-hit game and his 16th bunt single. The only Marlins to have more bunt hits in one season were Emilio Bonifacio and Chuck Carr.

"It's pretty cool," Gordon said of all his feats. "It means I'm getting on base for the boys."

Meanwhile, left fielder Marcell Ozuna is hitting .313 with 30 doubles, two triples, 36 homers, 122 RBIs and a .923 OPS.

Ozuna and Stanton are the first major league teammates to each have over 120 RBIs in the same season since 2005. In that year, the feat was accomplished by Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield of the New York Yankees.

Even so, the Marlins on Sunday will wrap up their eighth straight losing season.

In fact, both the Marlins (77-84) and Braves (71-90) tapped out of the playoff race long ago, which means Stanton's home run chase is the only real reason Sunday's game will get any national attention at all.

The pitching matchup for Sunday features a pair of right-handers, with the definite edge going to Miami. The Marlins are starting Jose Urena (14-7, 3.77 ERA) who will try to cap a breakthrough year. Atlanta will start rookie Max Fried (1-1, 3.74 ERA).

In four starts against Atlanta this year, Urena is 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA.

For Fried, in three games against the Marlins this year, including one start, he is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA.

From the Braves perspective, they just want to end their six-game losing streak.

"The wheels have fallen off," Braves manager Brian Snitker admitted after Saturday's 10-2 loss to Miami. "Hopefully we can end the season tomorrow on a winning note."


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