Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
If any Marlins’ fans were on the fence regarding instant replay, they shouldn’t be any longer. Two vital calls were overturned during the series that directly led to wins on Friday and Sunday. Friday saw a bunt by Marcell Ozuna in the 9th inning that should have been a fielder’s choice at third base overturned, forcing the Mariners to pitch to the red-hot Giancarlo Stanton (more on him later). The rest was grand slam walk-off history.
Sunday, the Marlins were struggling to push runs across but managed to load the bases for Garrett Jones in the 8th inning. Jones’ ground ball to first baseman Justin Smoak was slightly bobbled before being thrown home, and Christian Yelich was called out at the plate. After a long replay, Yelich was ruled safe in a call that I thought was as obvious as you could get. This tied the game and kept the bases loaded, eventually leading to a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Adeiny Hechavarria.
Mike Redmond and the Marlins replay crew have proved capable at identifying which plays to challenge and not challenge too early in the game. That is one of the reasons for the Marlins sweep.