It looks like there won't be any retaliation or bad blood between the Marlins and Nationals after Tuesday night's little dust-up.
In the fourth inning of the Marlins 11-2 win which snapped an eight-game losing streak, Ian Desmond took exception to a Tom Koehler fastball that got a little too close for comfort.
Koehler said Desmond yelled to him 'throw the pitch over the plate.' Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia intervened and then had some words for Desmond before the benches and bullpens cleared and umpires got in the mix. Both teams received warnings and cooler heads eventually prevailed.
"I wasn't necessarily thinking he had intentions of hitting me," Desmond told Nats reporters. "You can drill me in the ribs, legs, whatever you want. But four or five times missing up around the hands and the head. I'm not claiming it to be on purpose but you gotta be able to control the ball. No big deal. It wasn't intended to escalate to what it did. But it was heat of the moment. It's tough sometimes.
"I meant what I was saying. This is how I feed my family. I'm not scared to get hit. I've been hit plenty of times and never said a word. Up around the hands and head, I just don't like that."
Koehler and skipper Mike Redmond said the Marlins were simply trying to establish the inside part of the plate.
"Guys tend to get upset when they get crowded," Koehler said. "It is our job as starters to make sure they know that is our piart of the plate. We have been beat inside too many times these past couple of series and that is because we haven’t established inside late in the game. You never want to get beat inside late in the game, and that’s what’s been happening because we haven’t been throwing those pitches in."
Said Saltalamacchia: "We're teammates. That's what it comes down to, I'm going to protect our guys. Regardless if it is the pitcher, the first baseman, Stanton or anybody. We're here for each other. We're family. We're going to protect each other. If you see somebody yelling or saying something towards your pitcher, you're going to step in the way."
Koehler said the issue was dead afterward.
"I've known Jarrod for a long time – I wouldn't respect him if he didn't respond that way," Desmond said. "Like I said, it wasn't premeditated. It just came out. His reaction I'm sure wasn't premeditated either. This is baseball. We compete. Going forward, no hard feelings. This is the way the game goes sometimes."
Things obviously haven't been going well for the Marlins during this eight-game losing streak.
But Monday night's 9-2 loss to the Nationals came awfully close to being much more painful for the Marlins had Christian Yelich not yielded the way to Giancarlo Stanton. The two nearly collided into each other in right-center field in the second inning sprinting after a Jayson Werth fly ball.
Stanton made the grab for the out and then smiled at Yelich, who decided at the last second self preservation was a smarter idea than crashing into his 6-6, 240-pound teammate.
"I heard him at the last second and saw out of the corner of my eye he wasn't stopping," said Yelich (6-3, 200). "So I kind of just peeled off. Self preservation -- otherwise I probably wouldn't be here today. I would have been out there still."
Yelich said Stanton joked with him after the game how everyone on the team would be wearing a C.Y. patch (Yelich's initials) on their uniform Tuesday had there been a head-on collision between the two.
"It was close," Yelich said. "We had a close one in spring training also. I've tempted fate a few times here. Hopefully it doesn't become a frequent thing. The good thing is you kind of hear him running when he gets close to you. It sounds like a horse. You can definitely tell he's coming."
Yelich, who returns to left field tonight with Marcell Ozuna back in the lineup, has only started six games in center field in the big leagues. Skipper Mike Redmond said he has no problem starting Yelich in center and that the ball Werth hit belonged to the center fielder.
"You always get a little bit nervous even though Yelly has played quite a bit of center field [in the minors]," Redmond said. "He hasn't played a lot of in the big leagues, but you know he can do it. Those are always things you worry about -- the communication in the outfield. But fortunately it didn't happen."
> Redmond said what he's seen from Stanton defensively and running the bases this season has been outstanding.
"He looks great. His jumps have been solid. Watching him run the bases he looks good, he looks healthy," Redmond said. "He looks really comfortable out there both offensively and defensively. He's feeling good. Now we have to get everything around it going. The pitching, better defense."
> Yelich heads into Tuesday night's game on a nine-game hitting streak. He's gone 14 for 39 (.359) since starting the season 2-for-14. Getting more familiar with the pitchers he's been facing helps, Yelich said.
"When it wasn't going well I think I had good at-bats and it wasn't happening. Now it is," Yelich said. "I'm just finding holes. Baseball is funny like that."
He's also getting comfortable and speaking up more, sharing his assessment of what pitchers are doing and the quality of their pitches to teammates. That's something every lead-off hitter tries to do.
"Previously it was kind of tough for me to go back and tell a guy this is what he's doing tonight because he would say 'Hey man you've got two at-bats against him,'" Yelich said. "Obviously when you face guys more you kind of have a better idea of what their stuff looks like on their good and bad days, kind of what they're doing to you. You feel more comfortable letting the other guys in the dugout know this is what he's got going tonight and this is what he's doing, let's go get him. I'm starting to feel more comfortable doing that."
> Redmond said the Marlins still haven't decided what they're going to do with Brad Hand's spot in the rotation after his rough night Monday, but a decision could be announced Wednesday. Hand's starts have lasted 3 1/3 innings and 3 innings.
> Right-hander Jacob Turner, who played catch off flat ground for the first time since being placed on the disabled list, said his strained right shoulder has "definitely gotten better the last few days." He said his rehab could be sped up or slowed down depending on how feels.
> Nationals (8-5): 1. Anthony Rendon 3B, 2. Bryce Harper LF, 3. Jayson Weerth RF, 4. Adam LaRoche 1B, 5. Ian Desmond SS, 6. Danny Espinosa 2B, 7. Nate McLouth CF, 8. Sandy Leon C, 9. Stephen Strasburg RHP
> Marlins (5-9): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Marcell Ozuna CF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Derek Dietrich 2B, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Tom Koehler RHP.