Apr 18, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a game wining grand slam in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Marlins Ballpark. The Marlins won 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners and the Miami Marlins met yesterday in Florida for a good ol’ interleague baseball game. Going into the bottom of the ninth things were tied 4-4, with Yoervis Medina looking to send things to extras against Reed Johnson, Christian Yelich, and Marcel Ozuna. What Medina was also hoping to do was avoid facing the next man up, Giancarlo Stanton. What Medina did was put Johnson, Yelich, and Ozuna on base, with help from baseball’s new worst rule. What Medina did next was also incredibly stupid, though this time the fault was entirely his own.
Let’s rewind a little. Chris Young made his second Mariners start, and it was a short one. Through three innings Young allowed seven hits and three walks, with a clean zero in the strikeout column and four runs. There was a Jarrod Saltalamacchia solo homer somewhere in there, but let’s not sweat the specifics. The Marlins, who suck, scored four runs in three innings against the M’s starter.
Like Erasmo Ramirez before him, Young turned in a big stinker that put the team in a hole and forced an already-taxed bullpen to wear itself extra thin. Recall, if you will, that the Mariners are still somehow without a proper long reliever. Felix Hernandez has been worth 1.1 WAR, which, incidentally, is the same exact total as the entire pitching staff as a whole. Yup, the rest of the rotation and the entire bullpen has combined to be exactly replacement level through the season’s first three weeks.
But the M’s stormed back, plating two in the second, adding a run in the fifth, and tying things up in the seventh. Abraham Almonte had an awesome triple somewhere in there, and Kyle Seager hit the ball well all night. It sucks that the Mariners offense is but a footnote, but that’s what happens when games end like this one did. So, since we’re all thinking about it, let’s just go ahead and face the reality of how this game ended.
To go along with instant replay, which is decidedly a good thing, Major League Baseball has introduced a new take on what’s being called the “transfer rule,” which is decidedly a no-good, stupid, bad thing. Essentially, the new rule takes advantage of replay’s best features (getting the closest possible look at a play) to essentially redefine a catch. On a fast play, such as Kyle Seager catching a hard throw at third for a critical force out, the catch now must be “clean,” which is why Mike Redmond successfully challenged that Seager never had “control” of the ball since he bobbled it after the out was called.
Of course, the ball never really left his posession, but since it was in neither glove nor hand for a fraction of a second after the ump had made his call, the situation was bases loaded and not runners on first and second with one out for Giancarlo Stanton. Also keep in mind that this was a stupid thing for the Marlins to do, since the play started with a bunt – it appears the goal would have been to create a situation where the Mariners would just walk Stanton, and Garrett Jones hits cleanup for this major-league team. Because the new rule is an abomination, Stanton got to hit.
Stanton ended his night three for three with two walks. His third and final hit came in the bottom of the ninth against Medina, in the form of a walk-off grand slam. It’s super frustrating when Erasmo Ramirez misses his spots and hangs meatballs in the middle of the zone, but when Medina does it it’s almost expected. It should be that way with Ramirez, too, but then again, Ramirez is supposed to be good. Medina was supposed to have lost his 40-man spot three years ago. Medina put a curve in the actual worst spot, and Stanton did to it what he’s known to do. 8-4, game over, go to hell Mariners. At least that’s what it feels like the Mariners were trying to say.
So tomorrow we try again. Roenis Elias and Henderson Alvarez should be fun, and baseball is baseball, but the AL West goes Oakland-Texas-Anaheim-Seattle-Houston, which sounded right before the season and now is our reality. The Mariners have looked plenty bad at times, but maybe today aty 4:10 they won’t. Let’s hope so, because a sweep at the hands of the Marlins would be all kinds of awful.