MILWAUKEE -- Hot one day and cold for the next two isn't the way Jose Reyes is used to playing.
The Marlins' shortstop, a four-time All-Star when he was with the Mets, understands he has to step it up on a regular basis.
"I know I am better player than what I've shown so far," said Reyes, batting .268 with a .343 on-base percentage. "The key for me is to be consistent. In the first half, I'd get two hits in a row, and then I'd go 0-for-4 two days in a row. That's not me. I have to be at the same level every day to help this ballclub a lot."
It doesn't all fall on Reyes. But the facts remain: The Marlins as a team are in a crucial stretch before the All-Star break.
The most imminent goal is to get to .500, or very close to it, by the end of the road trip. Even though there is half a season of games to be played, there is a real danger of slipping too far off the pace.
On Monday night, the Marlins committed three errors that led to a three-run lead disappearing in a 6-5 loss at Milwaukee.
"We just are trying to take one game at a time, and finish strong," Reyes said. "Our goal in the first half is to play .500 ball or better. Less than that is not going to be acceptable."
Reyes has stayed healthy, and he feels good at the plate.
"The problem for me is, I wasn't consistent overall," he said, assessing his first half. "I have to be more consistent.
"If you see through the years for me, every first half, I hit .300," Reyes said.
A year ago, when he won the National League batting title, the shortstop hit .354 before the break. He actually is a .291 career hitter in the first half. He was at .294 before this year.
"This team is going to need me a lot in the second half to make things happen," Reyes said. "It's coming. There is still a lot of baseball left. But being consistent, that's what I need."
Stanton out of lineup to rest sore knee
MILWAUKEE -- A sore knee kept Giancarlo Stanton out of the lineup on Tuesday afternoon, but the Marlins' right fielder insists it won't hinder him from participating in next week's Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.
Manager Ozzie Guillen initially had Stanton set to play in the second of four games with the Brewers at Miller Park. But the 22-year-old, who has dealt with soreness in his right knee since Spring Training, felt discomfort when he woke up.
Rather than risk anything, Stanton was given the day off. He remains hopeful of playing on Wednesday.
"He said he wanted to take batting practice to see how he feels," Guillen said. "But we don't want to take any chances. This is an early game after a night game."
Stanton should be available to pinch-hit.
"Tomorrow, we'll see how he is," Guillen said.
When asked about a possible return for Wednesday's game, Stanton was optimistic.
"Hopefully," he said. "That's what we're going for, yes."
The same knee plagued Stanton in Spring Training, when he missed several weeks. Since the season started, though, Stanton has been a fixture in the lineup.
"We've been lucky, to be honest with you," Guillen said. "I thought it was going to be worse when we left Spring Training."
Stanton and left fielder Logan Morrison (left knee) both were closely monitored when the season began.
"I thought he was going to be kind of like LoMo was," Guillen said. "We gave LoMo a lot of rest early. But he's been fine. He's been great. When [Stanton] says he's a little bit sore, you've got to be careful. I expect him to be in a lot of pain; that's why he isn't playing."
Stanton had played in 78 of the team's 79 games this season.
"I was dragging a bit yesterday," he said. "My body was overwhelmed and shut down a little bit."
Greg Dobbs, batting .292 with 18 RBIs in 52 games, was inserted into the lineup, batting third and playing right field.
Last Sunday, Stanton was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. He is hitting .283 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs.
Stanton took some early batting practice on Monday, which he was doing to prepare for Monday's Home Run Derby at Kansas City. He hit for about 10 extra minutes.
Guillen doesn't think that aggravated Stanton's knee.
"No, I didn't think so," the manager said. "I think he's just sore. I hope he is just sore because of a day game after a night game."
Hanley out with balky right knee
MILWAUKEE -- The Marlins took a couple of hits before the first pitch was thrown on Tuesday at Miller Park.
Shortly after Miami announced Giancarlo Stanton was scratched due to a sore right knee, Hanley Ramirez also was removed from action with a right knee ailment of his own.
"He's been sore for the last couple of days," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Today, he started swinging and was sore. I would rather give him a day off than lose him for 15, 20 days."
Donovan Solano started at third base against the Brewers in the second game of the four-game series.
Ramirez, who came out to stretch with the team, has played in 78 of the Marlins' 79 games. The veteran is hitting .259 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.
Being without Ramirez and Stanton removes 31 homers and 93 RBIs from the Marlins' lineup.