I have to confess that I had an entirely different article written as the Marlins started the last half of the 9th inning. It was an article outlining how the Marlins had decided not to show up to the 1st game of a 10 game home stand against the Pittsburgh Pirates. For 8 innings it was the truth. Jeff Locke was splendid, spinning 8 innings of 2 run baseball. There was little to think that the Marlins would be able to mount a comeback down 6-2 in the ninth, but then something peculiar happened. Clint Hurdle miraculously pulled Locke out of a game that he was in complete control of. Justin Wilson came in and started walking people. Then closer Jason Grilli came in and walked some more people, and finally Mark Melancon came in and walked another person to tie the game. Meanwhile I am 500 words into a column handing out D’s and F’s like candy at Halloween.
It was a conundrum.
Do I grade the players on a pathetic 8 innings or an amazing 9th inning? I figured that I would hold off and wait to see how this one played out. Well if you didn’t stay up to watch, you were probably better off. Long story short, Mike Dunn blew it again, this time allowing a 2-run home run to Gregory Polanco (his 5th hit of the game mind you) and the Fish blew a 4-run 9th inning comeback to lose 8-6 in 13 innings.
Before the comeback, the big story out of Miami on this night was Christian Yelich. The Marlins starting left fielder left the game prior to the second inning with a lower back strain. Presumably the injury happened during his first at bat in the first inning. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary but nonetheless, he pulled up slightly and is considered day-to-day. The Marlins cannot afford to lose him long-term.
The rest of the game was played very sloppily by the Fish. It included Adeiny Hechavarria booting a routine ground ball, Jeff Mathis missing a fastball by Dan Jennings that wasn’t in the dirt, yet found its way to the backstop, and Jeff Baker doing his best to botch a routine rundown play not once, but twice. The Marlins will need to play better defense if they want to win this series. On to the grades.
Stanton did everything in his power to help the Marlins overcome this night. By going 3-5 with a solo home run, he was the lone bright spot in the Marlins lineup. When his number was called in the ninth inning, Pittsburgh wanted no part of him, intentionally walking him and bringing the game winning run into scoring position.
Eovaldi was shelled early and often in this one, giving up 6 runs, all earned, in 4.2 innings. He allowed 10 hits and walked 1. It wasn’t even the amount of hits that were alarming. Pittsburgh was hitting frozen ropes all over the field. His pitches lacked any type of good movement.
Furcal got off to a miserable start in his first game with Miami. He went 0-6 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. Also he had an important play on a ground ball up the middle that he was unable to make that allowed an inning to continue and cost the Marlins some runs. It wasn’t an automatic play by any means, but he got a lot of his glove on it and I believe he would tell you that he should have had it. His walk in the bottom of the ninth was the only thing that prevented him from receiving the dreaded “F”.
Lets see…0-5, 1 strikeout, 5 runners left on base, stranded the tying run on third base and the go-ahead run on second base in the bottom of the 9th inning. It’s not rocket science how I came up with this grade…
That is what I wrote before McGehee came to the plate in the 9th inning. I don’t want to take all the credit for the Marlins comeback with my reverse jinx, but I will happily take some. Of course, Casey would go on to walk home the tying run, and then double in the 12th inning with one out to give the Marlins a chance to win the game. Alas that doesn’t make up for a 1-5 night with a strikeout. I wanted to give him a higher grade considering how clutch his walk was, especially when you consider after two pitches he was down in the count 0-2, but I couldn’t do it.
F, A, F
Schizophrenia play deserves a Schizophrenia grade. Miami slept through the first 8 innings, came alive for the 9th, and then fell right back asleep to waste a perfectly good comeback. It is encouraging to see the team battle back, but it seems like they are not able to finish the job with alarming consistency. Hopefully they will start the game tomorrow the way they did the 9th inning of this game. Until then, Go Fish!
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