Shaun Marcum became the first pitcher in over a year to hit a grand slam, but the Diamondbacks overcame a 6-1 deficit by scoring in each of the final six innings of the game to beat the Brewers 8-6 on Monday.
Marcum, in his first year in the National League, was 4-for-40 lifetime before taking Daniel Hudson deep for his first career homer.
He was the first pitcher to hit a grand slam since Brad Penny hit one for the Cardinals on May 21, 2010. It also happened once in 2009 (Chris Carpenter) and twice in 2008 (Felix Hernandez and Jason Marquis).
Marcum gave up three runs in the two innings after the grand slam and four runs in six innings overall. He left with a 6-4 lead, but that was blown by the middle-relief corps. The Diamondbacks also got to closer John Axford, who entered a tie game and gave up his first two earned runs since May 21. Marcum has just one win in his last eight starts.
The Diamondbacks got homers from Miguel Montero and Wily Mo Pena in the game. Pena’s was his second in four at-bats as a pinch-hitter and fifth in 39 overall. Montero and Sean Burroughs each had three hits apiece.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.