On June 4, 2013 against the Phillies, Marlins closer Steve Cishek surrendered a game-tying solo home run to John Mayberry, Jr. in the bottom of the tenth inning. It was his second — and last — blown save of the season. Between his next appearance and the end of the regular season, Cishek converted all 29 save opportunities while posting a 1.18 ERA over 45 2/3 innings.
The streak continued into 2014. Entering Friday’s game against the Mets, Cishek had converted all four of his save chances and had a perfect 0.00 ERA over seven innings. With the Marlins leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth on Friday, Cishek entered the game looking to make it 34 straight saves. The Mets weren’t fazed.
Lucas Duda led off with a single and then moved up to second base on Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice bunt. Cishek got the second out of the inning when Bobby Abreu lined out to left, but the Mets were just getting started. Omar Quintanilla singled to left to score Duda to tie the game at 3-3, marking Cishek’s first blown save of the season and snapping the 33-save streak. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, pinch-hitting for Eric Young, Jr., doubled to left-center, moving Quintanilla to third base. Finally, Curtis Granderson singled to right field, pushing across the winning run as the Mets walked off 4-3 winners.
Perhaps because he has played for the Marlins, Cishek has gone under the radar as a quality reliever for a while. Since becoming a regular part of his team’s bullpen in 2011, Cishek has a 2.53 ERA with 206 strikeouts and 53 unintentional walks over 195 2/3 innings. He and the Marlins avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.8 million deal over the off-season, but he has three more years of arbitration eligibility left, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Marlins trade him at some point.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: