Daniel Nava, getting a much-anticipated start in left field over Jonny Gomes, delivered a game-tying RBI single in the sixth inning. Some would argue that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny deserves half of Nava’s credit, though.
The inning started off innocently enough as Shane Victorino drew a walk off of Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Dustin Pedroia hit a sharp line dive down the left field line but it was snagged by David Freese. With David Ortiz coming up and Randy Choate warmed up in the bullpen, Matheny removed Kelly from the game for the lefty-on-lefty match-up. Down in the count 1-2, Ortiz singled to the right of first baseman Matt Adams, sending Victorino to third base.
The switch-hitting Nava was in the on-deck circle but Matheny decided to go to right-hander Seth Maness in the hopes that he could generate an inning-ending double play. On the first pitch Maness threw, an 89 MPH sinker, Nava ripped it into left field for an RBI single, tying the game up at 2-2. Xander Bogaerts gave Maness the ground ball double play he was looking for, just a batter too late, going 4-6-3 to end the inning.
Both teams’ starters are out of the game now, making the rest of the game a battle of the bullpens. Jake Peavy’s night ended with a line that read: 4 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K. Kelly’s line read: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.