Last night was a tough game to watch. It was a game that the Miami Marlins batting came out and dominated through the first three innings. Then the bottom of the third inning killed the Marlins. The Philadelphia Phillies batted around in that third inning and put the game away early. The pitching match up of Josh Johnson vs Roy Halladay was not as good as hyped, at least for one of the two pitchers.
The game got off on the right foot for the Marlins. Emilio Bonifacio hit a dribbler and was able to beat it out for an infield single. Halladay made an errant throw, but luckily for the Phillies, their defense was able to make sure the speedy Bonifacio could not advance.
Next up, Hanley Ramirez squared up on the ball and lined in almost 400 feet away, unfortunately for Hanley, Shane Victorino was able to make a nice over the shoulder catch to retire the Marlins third baseman. Giancarlo Stanton followed with a base hit and Logan Morrison walked to load the bases off of the two-time CY Young Award winner.
Gaby Sanchez grounded out weakly to short stop to end the inning. The Marlins were unable to put any runs on the board. Right then, you knew that opportunity was going to comeback and bite the Marlins.
The Marlins lone run of the evening came in the second inning. Omar Infante just missed another homer, but was happy to settle for a double. He advanced to third on John Buck‘s ground out and Josh Johnson drove him in on a ground out.
Josh Johnson was able to get through the first two innings. The Marlins were looking good with a 1-0 lead. Roy Halladay was struggling against the Marlins lineup. After retiring the side in the third, Doc was already at 50 pitches.
That is when the wheels fell off for the Marlins. The Phillies were able to plate six runs in the third inning and sent 10 hitters to the plate. Two of the three outs for Josh Johnson happened to be Roy Halladay himself.
A look at Johnson’s pitch plot shows his struggles to locate his pitches. Johnson threw 41 pitches in the third inning alone, 83 for the evening, before being taken out in the fourth inning after allowing another run. Johnson fell behind 4 of the 7 hitters in that third inning after the first pitch.
Location was not the only issue for Johnson, though. In the past, when Johnson has been at his best, his average velocity of his fastball has been right around 94 MPH. Last night, Johnson was only able to average 92.5 on his fastball. Against the St. Louis Cardinals, Johnson only got up to 93 MPH.
Johnson’s struggles were not the only problem for this Miami Marlins team in that third inning. Marlins fans took noticeable exception with a horribly missed call. In that third inning, with one out and the Phillies yet to score, Juan Pierre took off to steal second base. John Buck threw out the speedy outfielder, but the umpire called Pierre safe. Multiple looks at the replay showed that Pierre was out. Then things unraveled for the Marlins.
But the thing we need to look at is how much did that missed call cost the Marlins? Michael Jong of Fishstripes has that one figured out.
Using the run expectancy matrix listed here for the most recent era, the difference between those two base-out states is about 0.6 runs, meaning that the ref cost us almost two-thirds of a run with that blown call.
Some might want to blame the umpire for the (close) blown call at second base, but that only cost the Fish 0.6 runs. The team shot itself in the foot for an additional full run on mistakes in the outfield, so it has very few people to blame but themselves for letting the game get out of hand.
As Michael pointed out, the Marlins lost only two-thirds of a run on that missed call. The rest falls on Josh Johnson for not retiring hitters and the Marlins defense for not making plays.
I will let Michael explain how the Marlins defense cost the Marlins more runs then that blown call:
It did not help that the Marlins’ defense faltered multiple times that inning. Placido Polanco followed the steal with a single to left field, and Logan Morrison missed the cutoff man on a throw to home plate, allowing Polanco to advance to second, costing the Fish a quarter of a run. Jimmy Rollins followed singled into left-center field and Morrison was there to cut it off. Unfortunately, he slipped in the outfield grass and allowed Polanco to advance to second base on an error. That error cost the Marlins another quarter of a run. Morrison followed that play with another mistake in airmailing another throw home and allowing Hunter Pence‘s RBI single to move him to second base. In that exchange, Morrison cost the Marlins three-quarters of a run with mistakes tacked onto the additional three runs that did actually score. This was followed by Giancarlo Stanton missing a diving, but makeable catch in right-center field which led to a series of events that eventually brought two more runners home via a Freddy Galvis double.
Yes, Marlins fans, you have every right to be pissed off about that missed call. We have no idea how that inning may have turned out if the umpire made the proper call and called out Pierre. What we also do not know is that how the inning would have played out if Logan Morrison and Giancarlo Stanton made the plays they were supposed to.
Blame the umpire all you want, the Marlins still needed to make the pitches and the plays to get the outs. They did not. End of story. The umpire did not cos the Marlins this game. They cost themselves this game.
Tonight is another big night for Miami sports. The Miami Heat will take on the Chicago Bulls over on TNT. On MLB Network or on FSN Florida, you can catch the finale of this series. The Marlins have a good chance to take the series against the Phillies. The Marlins will send out Mark Buehrle to pitch. The Phillies will be sending out Joe Blanton.
If the Marlins bats can bounce back, this is a very winnable game for the Marlins.
Prediction: Marlins win 7-2
Topics: Emilio Bonifacio, Freddy Galvis, Gaby Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, John Buck, Josh Johnson, Juan Pierre, Logan Morrison, Mark Buehrle, Miami Marlins, Omar Infante, Philadelphia Phillies, Placido Polanco, Roy Halladay, Shane Victorino, St. Louis Cardinals