== Funky ruling, cold Medina, hot Stanton, slumping Mariners ==
It is possible to be mildly encouraged by the fact that the Mariners keep finding new and unusual ways of losing, as opposed to just going out and getting blown off the field.
Friday night it was the new “transfer rule” that killed off a force out at third, and necessitated that Yoervis Medina pitch to Giancarlo Stanton lest he walk in the winning run.
Of course, instead of walking him, Medina served up a centered, 86-mph breaking pitch that Stanton blasted right at the multicolored tropical contraption in the Miami outfield (video link), and it was game over to the tune of negative grand salami time.
It was all-too-similar to prior games in which Roenis Elias hung one up for Albert Pujols and Erasmo Ramirez delivered a blastable offering to Josh Donaldson. Those homers ended up as difference-makers in close games as well.
But the drama setting up the walk-off slam resulted from Kyle Seager’s “transfer” bobble after an apparent force-out at third.
Indeed, within any baseball era other than 2014 it would have been an out, and not just because the umpire on the field called it an out. First, there was instant replay to challenge the call, and second there is the new interpretation that rendered the apparent force a non-force.
If you haven’t seen it, here it is (click in box, then on the arrow)..
The ruling on appeal was that Seager had bobbled the “transfer” from the glove to the throwing hand, and that by the time he had full possession he was off the bag, and, therefore, no force.
There are going to be some ridiculous applications of this rule, and this is one of them. The guy is out once Seager catches the ball on the bag. Why does a subsequent act of throwing render the runner un-out? Strange.
Anyway, it was crucial here since they would have walked Stanton had the runner been out, and they would have forced someone else to beat them.
And finally some answers on the starter front.
- It will be Brandon Maurer getting the start on Sunday, as generally anticipated.
- Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch for Tacoma on Tuesday.
- That would line up Kuma with Ramirez, and allow him to displace Erasmo next time around or whenever he’s ready.
- So they’ll probably have e-RAM make that start or those starts, considering that bringing someone up or signing someone off the scrap heap won’t really have any better chance of success as giving him another shot to turn it around.
- Rev up the Morbanwagon! I had hoped that Jabari Blash would get Ji-Man Choi’s spot at Tacoma, but the actual recipient is also an interesting one: Julio Morban. The often-exciting lefty outfielder is returning from a broken leg, and got the call to join the Rainiers. Then he went 3-for-3 his first game out.
- But, my goodness, the bigger story: Patrick Kivlehan with two more homers at High Desert, giving him seven in his first 16 games. He’s now hitting .318/.384/.697.
- Also in High Desert, a remarkable relief outing from Grady Wood: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K.
- Jesus Montero got his third homer in Tacoma’s “nightcap” game.
- Jackson trailed much of the night, but got five runs in the 9th to move ahead. Doubles from Kevin Rivers and John Hicks were key. Blash had a double and two walks, the second of which was a kickstarter of the 9th-inning rally.
- Clinton ran out to an early lead and cruised to a 7-1 win. Marcus Littlewood paced the attack with a double and home run, and Jacob Zokan stayed hot on the mound: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.