Blue Jays, Marlins emerge victorious in pair of marathon games

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The Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets combined for 38 innings of baseball as the four teams engaged in two marathon games this afternoon. The Jays defeated the Rangers 4-3 in 18 innings while the Marlins emerged victorious over the Mets 2-1 in 20 innings.

It is the Jays’ second game lasting at least 17 innings in the last nine days, as they lost 4-3 to the Padres in 17 on May 31. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third against Rangers starter Yu Darvish on a two-run triple by Colby Rasmus, who scored on Jurickson Profar’s throwing error. Jeff Baker hit a solo home run in the seventh to put the Rangers on the board, the only blemish on Mark Buehrle’s line over seven frames. In the ninth against closer Casey Janssen, the Rangers scored twice on an A.J. Pierzynski RBI single and an Elvis Andrus sacrifice fly to tie the game at three apiece.

From there, the Jays relied on a handful of relievers while the Rangers called on Ross Wolf to make what turned out to be the equivalent of a start. Wolf entered in the 12th and didn’t leave until two outs in the 18th when the Jays walked off. With one out, Emilio Bonifacio singled. Wolf was trying to keep Bonifacio’s lead to a minimum and attempted to pick him off at first base, but made an errant throw which allowed Bonifacio to move to third base with one out. Rajai Davis got ahead 1-0 before singling to left to drive in the winning run.

As a Redditor pointed out, the pitchers of record were Aaron Loup (winner) and Ross Wolf (loser). “Loup” is French for “wolf”.

Today’s 18-inning affair matches the longest in Jays history, set on July 28, 2005 when they defeated the Angels 2-1. It is the longest game in Rangers history.

In the National League, Marlins starter Jose Fernandez went pound-for-pound with Mets starter Matt Harvey. Fernandez held the Mets to one run — a Juan Lagares RBI double in the second — over six innings. Harvey held the Fish to one run — a Chris Coghlan sacrifice fly in the fourth — over seven innings. He left the game with lower back tightness.

Both teams quickly exhausted their bullpens before relying on starters. For the Mets, Shaun Marcum held the Marlins scoreless on two hits over his first seven innings with seven strikeouts. He tired in his eighth inning of work, however, surrendering three consecutive singles to Placido Polanco, Rob Brantly, and Adeiny Hechavarria to put the Marlins up 2-1. Kevin Slowey held the Mets scoreless on eight hits over seven innings, striking out eight in the process. Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless 20th for the save.

It was the first game of 20 innings or longer for any Major League team since the Mets defeated the Cardinals 2-1 in 20 on April 17, 2010.

It is tied for the longest game in Marlins history. The Mets and Cardinals went 25 innings on September 11, 1974.

Derek Jeter calls Bryant Gumbel “mentally weak”

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Derek Jeter has not covered himself in glory since taking over the Miami Marlins. His reign atop the team’s baseball operations department has been characterized by the slashing of payroll in order to help his new ownership group make more money amid some pretty crushing debt service by virtue of what was, in effect, the leveraged buyout of the club. A club which is now 5-16 and seems destined for five months more and change of some pretty miserable baseball.

Jeter has nonetheless cast the moves the Marlins have made as good for fans in the long run. And, yes, I suppose it’s likely that things will be better in the long run, if for no other reason than they cannot be much worse. Still, such reasoning, while often accepted when a lesser light like, say, White Sox GM Rick Hahn employs it, isn’t accepted as easily when a guy who has been defined by his hand full of championship rings offers it. How can Derek Jeter, of all people, accept losing?

That’s the question HBO’s Bryant Gumbel asked of Jeter in an interview that aired over the weekend (see the video at the end of the post). How can he accept — and why should fans accept — a subpar baseball product which is not intended to win? Jeter’s response? To claim that the 2018 Marlins are totally expected to win and that Gumbel himself is “mentally weak” for not understanding it:

JETER: “We’re trying to win ball games every day.”

GUMBEL: “If you trade your best players in exchange for prospects it’s unlikely you’re going to win more games in the immediate future–”

JETER: “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day. You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

GUMBEL: “Not in so–”

JETER: “Now, you can think — now– now, I can’t tell you how you think. Like, I see your mind. I see that’s how you think. I don’t think like that. That’s your mind working like that.”

. . .

DEREK JETER: “You don’t. We have two different mi– I can’t wait to get you on the golf course, man. We got– I mean, I can’t wait for this one.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “No, I mean–”

DEREK JETER: “You’re mentally weak.”

I sort of get what Jeter was trying to do here. He was trying to take this out the realm of second guessing among people who know some stuff about sports and subtly make it an appeal to authority, implying that he was an athlete and that only he, unlike Gumbel, can understand that mindset and competitiveness of the athlete. That’s what the “get you on the golf course” jazz was about. Probably worth noting at this point that that tack has never worked for Michael Jordan as a basketball executive, even if his singular competitiveness made him the legend he was on the court. An executive makes decisions which can and should be second-guessed, and it seems Jeter cannot handle that.

That being said, Gumbel did sort of open the door for Jeter to do that. Suggesting that baseball players on the 2018 Marlins don’t expect to win is not the best angle for him here because, I am certain, if you ask those players, they would say much the same thing Jeter said. That’s what makes them athletes.

No, what Gumbel should have asked Jeter was “of COURSE you tell your players to win and of COURSE they try their hardest and think they can win every night. My question to you is this: did YOU try YOUR hardest to get the BEST players? And if not, why not?”

Question him like you’d question Rick Hahn. Not like you’d question Future Hall of Fame Shortstop, Derek Jeter.