You often hear a fan remark in a blowout that they wish the hitters would “save some for later,” as if ballplayers could bank runs like a tangible asset. Maybe Rob Manfred should look into that as a part of his never-ending quest to “fix” baseball. We already have defensive shifts; these could be called scoreboard shifts. The Marlins beat the Rays 10-6 last night, but they didn’t need those extra three runs, did they? So Don Mattingly makes a call in the dugout about half-way through today’s game and BAM, the Marlins are only down one with 4-5 frames left to play. Talk about your instant gratification!
This, of course, would be a complete disaster and render baseball virtually unrecognizable, so I anticipate it’s introduction into the game somewhere around 2019.
Unfortunately for the Marlins, no such rule yet exists so despite needing those runs today, they had to settle for getting shut down by Rays starter Matt Andriese en route to a 5-1 Tampa Bay victory.
The Marlins were a little snake-bit in this one. In the third inning, Adeiny Hechavarria singled and Dee Gordon bunted his way aboard to make it first and third with nobody out. Martin Prado stepped up and hit it right to the third baseman, who almost picked up a rare triple play, narrowly missing Prado at first base. As it was, the once promising inning was quickly over. In the fifth, Gordon garnered a walk and cleanly stole second, but came off the bag and was subsequently tagged out in a pickle. On the pitching side of things, with Nick Wittgren on the mound in the sixth, Derek Norris blooped a single just over Hech’s head. Flash forward to first and third with two outs, Kevin Kiermaier hit a ball of the middle that Wittgren got a piece of with his glove. The deflected ball bounced perfectly between Hech and Gordon to plate the Rays final run.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad luck, not by a long shot. Dan Straily was not sharp in this one, issuing five walks and allowing four earned runs off of a pair of two-run homers by
Hercules Tim Beckham. Wittgren had an unlucky hiccup, but Ureña and Tazawa both made appearances without issue.
The offense went dormant as it has tended to do during the early parts of this 2017 season. The one bright spot came in the ninth inning, when the Marlins mounted a small rally off of Rays reliever Chih-Wei Hu, courtesy an RBI single by Dee Gordon.
Walks continue to be the story of the 2017 season on both sides of the ledger for the wrong reasons. Marlins hitters are last in baseball with a collective 6.5 percent walk rate. Marlins pitchers are tops in all of baseball in allowing men to reach base via the walk, coming into the game with a 4.35 BB/9 rate and adding five Straily walks on top of that.
These are symptomatic of roster construction, so it’s hard to say with confidence that either statistic will improve. Not being the very worst at both, though, would be a good start.
Marlin vs. Mets tomorrow, Tom Koehler vs. Zach Wheeler, 4:10 pm eastern.
King-Ray: Tim Beckham (.322)
Flounder: Dan Straily (-.193)
Play of the game: First Hercules home run (.196)