Saltalamacchia drops a foul ball during a disastrous sixth inning against the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The sixth inning was definitely bad, mostly because of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. While I loved the way he stood up to Ian Desmond on Tuesday when Desmond overreacted to an inside pitch by Tom Koehler, Wednesday was a bit of a different story.
After a double down the right field line off the end of the bat by Jose Lobaton, pitcher Tanner Roark was looking to sacrifice the runner to third on a bunt. What transpired next was a huge part of the why the Marlins lost the series.
The bunt was a poor one and it trickled out just in front of home plate. Salty picked up and quickly saw that he had a play at third base to catch the slow running Lobaton. He tried to rush the throw and threw it in the dirt that Casey McGehee was fortunate to even catch. Lobaton was safe and the Marlins still had nobody out.
Here is the issue, GET THE SURE OUT! Unless that play is a force out (it wasn’t) making that throw allows for a host of things to go wrong. When the other team is trying to give you outs, YOU TAKE THEM. So what if Lobaton is standing on third base. Miami still has a 3-0 lead with one out and Jose Fernandez on the mound. Neither Nate McLouth or Anthony Rendon had done anything up until that point against Fernandez, but you could just feel bad things were coming when that happened.
Salty would go on to make another error on a foul pop-up that bounced in his mitt and popped right out during the McLouth at-bat. It didn’t directly cost the Marlins as they would retire McLouth, however it was another mistake that compounded the feeling that the Nationals were in for a big inning.
Needless to say, Fernandez pitched masterfully to both McLouth and Rendon, retiring them to get two outs. That should have been enough to get out of the inning. Instead, Fish killer Jayson Werth got to come up to bat and drilled a fastball over the right field fence for a game-tying home run. The moral of the story is that if the other team gives you outs with Jose Fernandez on the mound, you take them.