The Mariners turned the 11th triple play in franchise history on Sunday against the Blue Jays in a most unconventional way. Starter Taijuan Walker began the inning by issuing a walk to Ezequiel Carrera and allowing a single to Kevin Pillar, putting runners on the corners with nobody out.
On a 1-2 count, Ryan Goins hit a grounder to first baseman Mark Trumbo, who stepped on the first base bag and tossed the ball to shortstop Brad Miller. Miller chased Pillar back towards first, then ran in as Carrera hung about halfway between third base and home. Miller lobbed to catcher Mike Zunino, who ran Carrera back to third base just as Pillar arrived at the bag. Zunino tagged both runners. Carrera was first to the bag, so technically he was safe… until he happened to stumble off of the bag for who-knows-what reason. So Zunino tagged him out, too, for the triple play.
It’s ugly and it’s embarrassing, but oh so much fun to watch.
Carrera atoned for his base running mistake by robbing Zunino of a home run in the bottom of the sixth, then smacking a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to pad the Blue Jays’ lead to 5-3.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.