MIAMI -- Sloppy defense has become a factor in the Marlins' slow start.
In Saturday's disheartening 5-4 loss to Houston, Miami committed three errors in the ninth inning that helped lead to four runs.
"If we intend to be a good team, we have to clean it up," bench coach Joey Cora said. "We have to play better defense. We've done it at times, but we have to clean it up, plain and simple. We have to play better defense to compete and win games, especially the way the ballpark is playing. We're going to have to catch the ball, make the right throws and win games at this ballpark. We need to clean it up."
Spacious Marlins Park has been more pitcher-friendly, as one home run has been hit in the first three games.
Whether home or away, the Marlins haven't shown consistency in the field. In Saturday's loss, Emilio Bonifacio bobbled a ball in center field, allowing Jose Altuve to reach third on a double and error. Jordan Schafer reached on catcher's interference on Brett Hayes, which is an error. And the go-ahead run scored when Brian Bogusevic's fly ball to left was dropped by Logan Morrison.
"We made some errors in Philadelphia. We have to clean it up," Cora said. "It is what it is. We have to play better defense. For us to win games, we're built on pitching and we're built on defense. We need to play better defense. That's the way it's got to be for us to be able to compete and to get to where we want to be. It's that simple."
The Marlins have nine errors, which is tied for the fourth most in the big leagues.
"It's still early in the year. Sure, it is," Cora said. "But you try to win as many games as you can, because at the end of the year, they add up. When you have a game like that, it's tough."
Miami trying to carve home-field advantage
MIAMI -- It's a small sample size, but whether the roof is open or shut, it appears Marlins Park will play big. With its spacious gaps, high wall and 418-foot center field, home runs appear hard to come by.
The initial thought was, with the roof open, the strong winds would knock down fly balls and lead to many long outs. But with it closed, the ball would play more fairly.
That may not be the case. There were about four or five balls hit on Friday night with the roof shut that didn't clear the fence. Hanley Ramirez on Saturday scorched a ball to dead center, and the winds knocked it down on the lip of the warning track.
"This is our home ballpark," bench coach Joey Cora said. "If that's the way it's going to play out, that's the way it's going to play out. We play 81 games and playoffs. This is our ballpark. This is the way we're going play. We cannot get frustrated. Let them frustrated, the guys who are coming from other ballparks. We have to play the game at home. This has got to be our home."
Naturally, more time is needed to see how the park will play. Gaby Sanchez says he doesn't feel players will eventually get frustrated and get out of their approach.
"I don't think so, because now you're not thinking about that home run ball," Sanchez said. "You're thinking about staying in the gap and trying to drive it.
"It will frustrate guys throughout the course of the season, because there are balls that could be homers, which would lead to an extra run for the team and lead to big innings. But we're a team that's built on gap-to-gap hitters anyway."
Stanton, LoMo back in lineup together
MIAMI -- Continuity is taking a little time for the Marlins' corner outfielders.
Sunday marked the sixth time in 10 games that Miami has started Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison in the same game. Both have been hindered by knee injuries that limited their action since Spring Training.
The Marlins are hopeful that periodic rest will pay off in the upcoming weeks and months.
"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, they can be together, not only for a game, but for a while," said bench coach Joey Cora, filling in because of Ozzie Guillen's suspension. "That's what we want. Obviously, Stanton has the knee issue, too. We've got to take it easy."
Stanton has dealt with a sore left knee, while Morrison underwent surgery on his right knee in early December.
As a precaution, Morrison has been held out of the starting lineup in the three games after the team traveled. Stanton was given Saturday off -- although he pinch-hit -- to give his knee a breather.
Morrison played Saturday, and he drove in two runs, but he also dropped a fly ball in the ninth inning that brought home the winning run for the Astros.
"LoMo is LoMo. He's not going to complain, but we know he's not 100 percent yet," Cora said. "It's a matter of getting stronger. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, he can be out there for a while. That's part of the inconsistency of our offense. Two big guys, they haven't been there on a consistent basis. Again, it's only April. We want them to go through the season healthy."