The Marlins lost again on Thursday night, suffering a 7-2 defeat at the hands of the Dodgers to fall to 14-26 on the season. The club has lost four game in a row and nine of its last 10.
Giancarlo Stanton, who has not seen his Marlins finish above .500 since he debuted in 2010, says his frustration level with the team is the “highest ever,” Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. “It’ shigher than me being the worst player on the field for a month, the worst player in the big leagues for a month, last year,” Stanton said.
Stanton continued, “We’ve had some bad luck with injuries, and we haven’t been playing well. Just a funk. But we’ve got to get out of it or the season is going to be twice as long as the last few years.”
Stanton is doing his part. He’s hitting .263/.339/.533 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 171 plate appearances this season. But the club has dealt with a litany of injuries, and Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon are not performing as expected. The starting pitching has been abysmal and the bullpen hasn’t been dependable outside of A.J. Ramos and Kyle Barraclough.
The Marlins are already 11 games out of first place. While there’s still plenty of baseball left, it would be out of character to see the Marlins made additions to strengthen the team between now and the July 31 trade deadline, so it’s likely just up to the existing roster to try to turn things around.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.