Our college summer intern, Rohan Nadkarni, caught up this morning with Rob Brantly after a trying game, both offensively and defensively. Here's his report:
Marlins catcher Rob Brantly came to the plate in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the Indians with a chance to redeem himself. His ground ball out to first summed up his entire day – the result didn’t match the effort.
Brantly stepped into the batters’ box with runners on second and third with one out in a 4-3 game but couldn’t deliver a big hit and bring home a win.
“Those moments are what we play for,” Brantly said. “You want to do it for your teammates. You try to stay within yourself.”
The catcher didn’t necessarily stay within himself earlier in the game, and his up-and-down play ultimately benefitted Cleveland’s offense. The Indians stole six bases, and he said their aggression on the basepaths led him to be “a little overaggressive” in return.
“That was good, hard baseball,” Brantly said. “The anticipation of their aggression got me a little over-amped, and that ended up costing us a little bit.”
Brantly is referring to a throwing error he made in the third inning.
Michael Bourn started the inning by stealing second, and then he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Off the pitch, Brantly attempted to make a spinning throw to catch Bourn at third, but the ball sailed into the outfield, allowing Bourn to score.
Fortunately for Brantly, the veteran leadership of fellow catcher Jeff Mathis and manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher, helped him navigate the tough outing.
"Jeff and Red pull me aside all the time,” Brantly said. “Jeff was first on the scene yesterday, and he told me, ‘We’re going to make aggressive mistakes.’ But those are the ones you want to make.
“Yesterday was rough, but I feel like a completely different catcher from the beginning of the year.”
It was a long night for catcher Rob Brantly and the Marlins, who allowed the Indians to steal six bases in their 4-3 win. That equaled the Marlins' team record for most stolen bases allowed in one game. The last time it happened: when manager Mike Redmond was behind the plate in a 2000 game against Atlanta. It happened one other time, by the Dodgers in a 1996 game.
"It seems like he's had a few of those games were things just kind of snowballed," Redmond said of Brantly, whose playing time has diminished since Jeff Mathis came off the disabled list. "Part of that, I think, is the youth. His last three or four games he's been pretty good back there and tonight was just a rough night."
Brantly was also charged with a throwing error and failed to deliver at the plate in the ninth when the Marlins had a chance to tie -- if not win -- the game. With runners at second and third and one out, and the Indians corner infielders playing in, Brantly bounced out to first on a 1-0 pitch and the runners couldn't go.
"Anything but a ground ball to first there we score a run," Redmond said.
Not all of Cleveland's thievery was Brantly's fault. Drew Stubbs swiped a base on a botched pickoff by reliever Dan Jennings. Jennings' throw to first baseman Logan Morrison, whose throw to second sailed into the outfield. And Marlins pitchers, Jacob Turner in particular, didn't do a good job holding runners.
"You can't put that all on the catcher," Redmond said of the Indians' running success. "Jacob, he was not real quick to the plate, and that's something he's been working on. And (Ryan) Webb's not real quick to the plate either. So there's a couple of guys out there that aren't real quick."
Turner acknowledged that he needs to do a better job of holding runners.
"I was trying to do the best I could to hold them close," Turner said. "But I have to do a better job, just to give our guys a chance. I was trying to vary my looks. Unfortunately, he (Michael Bourn) got a couple good jumps on me. With his speed, it's pretty much on the bag if he gets a good jump. I think you could argue it was the deciding factor in the game."