So this is the baseball world we live in now. What has been an out in the past, might not necessarily be an out now.
And you can only wonder if the Mariners would have pitched to Giancarlo Stanton with a base open – I’m guessing not.
So basically the ninth went like this ….
With runners on first and second and nobody out, Marcell Ozuna dropped down a sac bunt. It was just near enough to the mound that Yoervis Medina was able to bare-hand grab it on the hop and fire across his body to third base to beat a sliding Reed Johnson. It was a brilliant play.
But after Kyle Seager caught the ball on the bag, he went to pull the ball out of his glove to possibly throw to first. He bobbled it. That little miscue led to a request of a replay challenge of the transfer rule by Marlins manager Mike Redmond. Why? Well most of you know it’s a play that has been reviewed and overturned often this season. The Mariners have benefitted a couple times.
Here’s video of the play.
Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon didn’t need to wait the near two minutes as the umpires conferred with MLB offices in New York to know the outcome.
“I knew that was going to be overturned right away,” McClendon said.
Based on the way the rule is written, Seager didn’t have possession of the ball and Johnson was ruled safe.
“We’ve seen it happen a couple of times this year,” Seager said. “I felt like I caught the ball on the base. And then I tried to transfer it over to my hand to make a throw and that’s when I bobbled the ball. But I felt like I caught the ball on the base.”
But with the new interpretation of the rule, Seager was wrong.
MLB released a memo as part of instant replay review guidelines that outlined a catch with this sentence:
“An example of a catch that would not count is if a fielder loses possession of the ball during the transfer before the ball was secured by his throwing hand.”
Under that language, Seager did not catch the ball, despite years of having it being almost the complete opposite.
“It definitely changes things,” Seager said. “But that’s the rule this year. You just deal with it.”
Had the out stood, the Mariners would’ve had some wiggle room with Stanton coming to the plate. They had intentionally walked him twice in the game and they could have done the same in the ninth to force someone else to beat them. With bases loaded, you can hope for a double play against the slow moving Casey McGehee, or try and play it out by out. The percentages might not be that much better or even worse. But with the way Stanton is hitting, there are no real percentages that matter.
“We really tried to stay away from him all night because he’s the one guy in that line-up that can really hurt you,” McClendon said. “But we had no choice there.”
Medina hung a 1-2 slider to Stanton and he crushed it over the wall in left field for a walk-off grand slam. It was his second career walk-off grand slam.
Stanton finished the night 3-for-3 with five RBIs. He is now hitting .329 with six homers and a MLB-leading 26 RBI. He has 23 hits on the season five doubles and the six homers. He’s got a .657 slugging percentage to go with a .390 OBP. Is that good? I think that’s good?
What hasn’t been good is the M’s starting pitching Chris Young was subpar. He struggled with his command all game. In three innings pitched, he was saddled with four runs on seven hits with three walks and a wild pitch.
“I didn’t do my part tonight,” Young said. “The bullpen kept us in the game. I wish I could have given a better effort. I just wasn’t sharp. These are major league hitters and they will punish you for it.”
McClendon felt that Young’s last outing – six shutout innings – coupled with missing so much time from injury let to some fatigue and lack of command.
“I suspect he’ll be better next time out,” he said.