Last night the Marlins did something no other team in baseball history has ever done when four different pitchers combined to walk four consecutive batters, loading the bases and then forcing in what was the tying run.
It all began when starter Josh Johnson walked the final batter he faced, Lucas Duda, with two outs in the seventh inning. Ozzie Guillen removed Johnson from the game and brought in Randy Choate, who then walked pinch-hitter Justin Turner. That was it for Choate and he was replaced by Steve Cishek, who walked Scott Hairston. And finally Guillen brought in Mike Dunn, who walked Josh Thole.
Four pitchers, four plate appearances, four walks. Amazing. And here’s the kicker: Marlins pitchers issued zero walks in the game’s other 29 plate appearances … and Miami lost 2-1.
Here’s hoping Showtime devotes an entire episode of The Franchise to that half-inning or at the very least features a montage of Ozzie Guillen walking back and forth from the dugout to the mound while the Benny Hill music plays.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.