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Bunting Ozuna; Praising Stanton; Jacob Turner, Colin Moran, Rafael Furcal updates

The decision to have Marcell Ozuna bunting in Friday's ninth inning with no outs, runners at first and second, and Giancarlo Stanton in the on-deck circle raised more than a few eyebrows. Even the Marlins' broadcasters were questioning the move. After all, if Ozuna had been successful with the sacrifice, it would have left first base open and the Mariners surely would have walked Stanton -- as they did in two of his previous plate appearances.

So what were the Marlins thinking?

"Trying to get a couple of guys in scoring position," manager Mike Redmond said afterward. "The way we've been going, if he (Ozuna) swings we might ground into a double play. Who knows? I just wanted to get guys in scoring position."

Even if it meant taking the bat out of Stanton's hands?

"I still take my chances with the bases loaded and one out and the four hole hitter (Garrett Jones) up at the plate with a chance to win the ballgame," Redmond said in defense.

There's no question that Ozuna is a double play candidate. He's hit into two of the three double plays the Marlins have grounded into this season. But he's no bunter, either. It's not something he's been asked to do very often during his professional career. He had six sacrifice bunts in the minors and one last season with the Marlins. He's also been swinging a solid bat, and one could make the argument he stood a better chance of driving in a run with a hit than, say, Jones.

But Ozuna is also hitting .158 (3 for 19) with runners in scoring position while Jones has done slightly better in those situations (5 for 20, .250).

Still, in bunting Ozuna, Redmond was effectively willing to sacrifice his most dangerous hitter in Stanton. 

As it turned out, Stanton still got to the plate and won the game with a walk-off grand slam even after Ozuna bunted. Upon fielding Ozuna's bunt, the Mariners went for the force at third, where Reed Johnson was called out. But after reviewing the play, the call was overturned when it was determined Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager failed to maintain complete control of the ball.

But what if the out call had been upheld? The Marlins would have had runners at first and second with one out and Stanton at the plate. Think the Mariners would have pitched to him? Privately, a couple of players on the Marlins don't think so, pointing to the fact that as the play at third was being reviewed, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon had gone to the mound to confer with reliever Yoervis Medina.

"I'm sure he was telling Medina to throw Stanton a couple of pitches down and away to see if he chases," one player said. "If he doesn't, then put him on."

McClendon all but admitted as much afterward, saying there was no way he wanted to give the hot-hitting Stanton any chance to beat him.

Once the call at third was overturned, McClendon had no choice.

"I knew this game was probably over with after the reversal," McClendon said.

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McClendon had nothing but praise for Stanton after the slugger's grand slam left the Mariners walking off in defeat.

"He's a force," McClendon said. "His strike zone is getting better. He's probably a much more patient hitter now than when he first came into the league. Knowledge is power, and he's got knowledge. He knows the pitchers now. He knows how they're going to try to work him."

Redmond was also raving about Stanton, who leads the majors in RBI with 26 -- seven more than the next player on the list -- leads the N.L. in runs scored with 14, and is tied with three others for the league lead in home runs with six.

"This guy has had an unbelievable month," Redmond said. "Really it started for him in spring training. He came in ready to go. You could just see a new focus, a new energy and drive out of him. I think that's really carried over."

Specifically, Redmond said the most notable change from Stanton this season as compared to a year ago is his pitch selection.

"He's more aggressive at pitches that he knows that he can handle," Redmond said. "Pitches up in the zone, last year, maybe he took some of those pitches, whereas this year he seems to be right on them all the time. I think the key for him is to eliminate the balls down and away and in the dirt. Once he's able to do that, then watch out. I think teams are starting to see that now, where he's starting to lay off those pitches and as he continues to swing at balls in the strike zone, there's not limit as to how much damage this guy can do."

Redmond said Stanton is also making better adjustments within at bats. Example: his ninth-inning at bat Friday against Medina.

"Last night, he missed that first breaking ball he threw him and the second one he crushed it," Redmond said. "That shows you he's able to make in-game adjustments pitch by pitch. And usually when you see a hitter able to make adjustments pitch by pitch, that's a pretty good sign he's locked in."

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The walk-off grand slam by Stanton was the fifth in Marlins history. The others: Bobby Bonilla (9/16/97 vs. Colorado), Dan Uggla (6/11/08 vs. Philadelphia), Stanton (5/13/12 vs. New York Mets) and Jeff Mathis (6/30/13 vs. San Diego).

According to Elias, Stanton is one of only two players to hit two walk-off grand slams before his 25th birthday. The other: former Marlins hitting coach Jim Presley. The major league record for most career walk-off grand slams is three and is shared by Alex Rodriguez, Cy Williams and Vern Stephens.

-- The Marlins have homered in nine consecutive games, the longest such streak since the team homered in nine straight from June 30-July 8, 2012. The franchise record for consecutive games with at least one home run is 14.

-- Christian Yelich takes a career-high 12-game hitting streak into tonight's game.

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Jacob Turner will throw one more bullpen session Sunday before heading up to Jupiter to begin a rehab assignment for the Single A Hammerheads. Turner will make his first rehab start on Wednesday for Jupiter and throw anywhere from 50 to 55 pitches. He'll make one more rehab start after that before rejoining the Marlins' rotation.

"If all goes according to plan, it'll probably be the beginning of May," Turner said of his return.

-- Second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) will continue his rehab assignment at Double A Jacksonville starting on Monday. Furcal has been seeing action at Jupiter.

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Top prospect Colin Moran, who has yet to play this season due to a minor knee injury, will likely begin playing in extended spring games next week in Jupiter. The third baseman was the Marlins' first-round pick in last year's draft.

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Tonight's lineups:

Marlins: 1. Christian Yelich 7; 2. Marcell Ozuna 8; 3. Giancarlo Stanton 9; 4. Casey McGehee 5; 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia 2; 6. Jeff Baker 3; 7. Adeiny Hechavarria 6; 8. Donovan Solano 4; 9. Henderson Alvarez 1.

Mariners: 1. Abraham Almonte 8; 2. Brad Miller 6; 3. Robinson Cano 4; 4. Justin Smoak 3; 5. Michael Saunders 9; 6. Kyle Seager 5; 7. Dustin Ackley 7; 8. Mike Zunino 2; 9. Roenis Elias 1.

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Comments

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who's on first

no matter how red puts it, his decision to have ozuna bunting was awful....at least he was humble enough to have jones out of the lineup tonight, contrary to his initial decision that jones would "play everyday"....time for dan jennings to give andy haines a call and ask about capps...we might see him being called up when this series is over...

employee

Redmond is in over his forehead..make that his eighthead

Dionysus Thelxinoe

If Ozuna is not a bunter, then he shouldn't be hitting second, in front of Stanton. Plus he strikes out frequently.

The guy in the 2 hole ideally should be a contact hitter (it gives you the option to hit-and-run), a good fastball hitter (esp. if the lead-off guy is a threat to steal), and be able to put down a decent sac bunt when needed (esp. late in the game, since the best hitter on the team is up next).

Alex

I agree DT, about Ozuna batting second. Eventually I can see him as a #3 type guy if he continues to develop.

Stan M, I know you are really down on Stanton as a defensive outfielder but I still say that we need to be patient. He's still only 24! He is still learning the game; that much is obvious, Stan, you can actually see him internalizing different things and starting to improve. And he does have some other things going for him other than his youth: he has a great arm and he can run. He ain't no LoMo in the outfield, that's for sure, LOL!

Marlin Fan

Overall good game tonight. Please play Solano more. Always liked him . Makes contact ( can hit and run with him ) , is very good defensively , rarely makes mental errors , us a smart base runner . Basically does all the little thing well and consistently .

Alex

Nice call on Alvarez, Flav C; he definitely was on tonight and gave the bullpen a much needed rest, especially with Ramos not being available tonight. The starting pitching is definitely going to come around; we have too many good young arms for the starters to continue their inconsistency. What worries me is of course the bullpen, the part of the pen not named Ramos or Cishek.

But the starters are good, and the hitting is very good; I can't believe how much better they are than last year when they got shut out like 15 times and scored just one run a whole bunch of times. They now have a two game winning streak after all that losing they did. Would be nice to win tomorrow and get a sweep with the Braves and Mets coming up, but they already have won this series, and that's the important thing. They dug themselves a little hole with that losing streak and they can get back over .500 a little at a time by just winning series, taking 2 out of 3.

Chief NocAHoma

Marlins are impressive against the likes of the Rockettes,Friars and Seadogs at home. Just wait till they have to play the rest of the teams. Keep your crying towel handy Feesh fans and get some cheese with your whine. Hope you enjoy smoked Marlin.

Flav C.

Alex, take a look at Grant Dayton's numbers since last season. You' ll be amazed. He pitched 2 more innings of relief tonight. ERA for the season: 0.00 .

Alex

Flav C, I took your word on Drayton the LAST time you posted about him, LOL. What are they waiting for? And he's a lefty you say? Again; what the hell are they waiting for? I can understand them not wanting to pull the plug on Dunn; they just signed the guy to a new contract (a one year deal, I hope!). But Dan Jennings ain't exactly making anybody forget Randy Myers or Sparky Lyle; why not give this kid Drayton a shot?

Stan M

Out of last place, and despite horrible run lately, only 1/2 game behind 3rd place Mets. This last game was actually fun to watch.
We were all over the incompetent hitting coach of last year. But no one has mentioned any credit for this new guy. This team is flat out hitting. With the disappointing exception of Jones, all are at or considerably above expectations.

Alex

The new hitting coach is excellent, Stan M. Frank Menechino deserves a LOT of credit. What an improvement over last year and the year before. Remember Eduardo Perez? Terrible!

Alex

Slowey is pitching well! And how come Solano gets so little love? That kid PRODUCES. It seems to me that every time a CLUTCH hit is needed or a simple sac fly with a man on 3rd less than 2 outs, Solano comes through. He was one of the best at that last year and he STILL gets no love!

Alex

Terrible. Marlins strand the runner at 3rd with less than 2 out. Most of the time they do that, bad things happen and they wind up losing the game. It's a momentum killer. And Redmond's choice of Pinch Hitters makes me shake my head. Why ask the RH hitting Johnson to PH in that situation?

Alex

The Jeff Baker signing was a waste of money that could have been used to get some decent bullpen arms. How many 2nd basemen did they think they needed? They had Dietrich, Solano, they signed Furcal, and have used Lucas at 2nd base too. Who needed Baker and why? He's batting under .100. It shows they had no confidence in Solano which absolutely makes me shake my head because Solano was one of the best clutch hitters they had last year.

Who's on first

u rather have Dobbs pinch-hitting?

Who's on first

Baker was brought in to platoon with Jones, and he'll be important down the stretch. Don't be a fool, Baker is a very good hitter and will show it. All u do is complaint. Was Caminero ok for u this time?

Alex

Now Redmond lets Jones bat and Jones does NADA. Redmond is REALLY BAD. He could have used Reed Johnson here, or even Baker. I mean Baker is DUE by now. He has hit some balls hard, but with no luck. But Redmond lets Jones hit against the tough lefty reliever, brings in his best RH pinch hitter against the right hander...unbelievable

Marlin Fan

Caminero hasn't been used in awhile , he's fresh , crusing along , why bring in Jennings then marmol????

Who's on first

Yes!!!!, Marmol showing what he's got and shuts up all the yentas!

Marlin Fan

Well Marmol came thru. I'd have a VERY short leash on Jennings in close games . One walk or hit and he's out. Why wait for him to create a mess

Alex

So Jennings comes in and promptly loads the bases. He's afraid to throw strikes cause he knows his stuff sucks and if it's in the strike zone, he's going to get HIT HARD. So he winds up walking two guys and Redmond brings in Marmol.

WHY? He is NOTORIOUS for poor control. I don't care that Marmol got the strikeout. He's the last guy you want in a bases loaded situation simply because he WALKS GUYS. And he HITS GUYS. And he throws WILD PITCHES.

And now, because Marmol managed to get out of it THIS TIME, Redmond will go ahead and do it again next time, and that is playing with FIRE. And everyone knows what happens when you play with FIRE. You wind up getting burned.

Who's on first

funny nobody mentions how the umpire squeezed Jennings...at least. 2 or 3 of those called balls were strikes...

Who's on first

marlins working on a walk-off hr by jones...wait and see..

Alex

Like I said, Baker is due. DUE TO BE RELEASED, LOL...

A Realist

We are hitting this year, but it comes in spurts and that annoys me. I guess that what you get with young players.

First 6 games = 5-1
Next 8 games = 0-8
Next 4 games = 3-1

SOOOO inconsistent! We should give Marisnick a try at 1st base. What do we have to lose? Jones isn't hitting and he has made some errors. Give the kid a try. He's big and he hit last year.

Who's on first

Dunner !!!! Yes !!! Brilliant !!!

Stan M

See how you folks would rate our hitters so far this year. Here are my evaluations:
Yelich.......A would be A+ with a HR or two
Ozuna........A- long drought spell with RISP or A+
Stanton......A would be A+ if he got more in from 3B
McGegee......B+ all we could ask of him
Salty........B- about what we should expect, good #7
Jones........D a major disappointment and killing us
Hech.........A even many of his outs are struck well
Detrich......B- evaluating hitting only, good plate
disclipline this year, much improved

Who's on first

Hey "realist"...even during the 0-8, the fish scored lots of runs in some games...just saying...

Alex

A Realist, that sounds like a good idea, really, and I am really tempted to agree with you. I like the way Marisnick hit this spring.

The only thing is that it isn't that easy to just switch positions like that. And the Marlins are always doing that, making guys switch positions at the major league level and look how it turns out. They tried to make a left fielder out of LoMo, and that was a disaster. They took a good minor league 2nd baseman, Coghlan, and made a LF out of him. He wasn't a great LFer, but he wasn't terrible. But then they tried to make a CENTER FIELDER out of him, and that was a terrible move. He had good range, but he also had a WEAK INFIELDERS ARM, runners ran wild on him and he promptly blew out his shoulder making throws.

So I really don't like it when they make these kids switch positions. They do it out of DESPERATION, because they are so damn CHEAP. Rather than get a guy to fill a need, they try to make some kid play a position he never played before.

Alex

Amazing! Dunn finally had a 1-2-3 inning! I bet his ERA is all the way down to 8 after that!

Who's on first

Yes!!!! Jones comes thru !!!!! Yelich is saaaaafe !!!


Who's on first

Yes !!!!!! Hech !!! Brilliant !!!

Alex

Thank God for Replay! This is going to benefit this team big time, because we have been getting shafted by bad calls by The Blue for years!

Also Thank God for Justin Smoke deciding to throw home rather than going for the DP, which Jones had pretty much laid in his lap. Like Stan M, I am very disappointed in Jones so far.

Who's on first

gonna have a heart attack...

Alex

STEVE CISHEK IS ONE COLD BLOODED DUDE! What a great game. And ya gotta give credit to Yelich who started the uprising in the bottom of the 8th and also to Hechevarria for being able to just hit a simple fly ball with a man on 3rd with less than two outs. Something that has been a struggle for this team.

Alex

Yeah, a definite heart attack type game, LOL..

Who's on first

Slowey kept the team in the game, bullpen was superb, clutch hitting from unexpected hitters...great win....can't ask for more....

A Realist

Wow! I'm at work and I just checked the score fully expecting to be dissapointed by another late inning choke job. Man oh man! Wish I could have seen this one. Anyway, I'll give credit where it's due. Good job getting this sweep. Gotta beat the bad teams and hang in there with the good teams. Let's see how they handle the Braves. The last time we were feeling good about ourselves going into Washington we got humiliated. Keep it up tomorrow guys. Have confidence in yourselves.

As for Marisnick at first, I know it's a lot easier said than done switching a guy's position. They have to do something because that outfield is crowded. Maybe they will trade Stanton and plug in Marisnick, as much as I hate to say that.

A Realist

Goooo Feeesh!!!

Stan M

Marisnick isn't hitting his weight in AAA ball. I will give Redmond credit in this game. Ninth inning, our best defensive catcher and best defensive 2B and best relief pitcher all in there. Win or lose, that's the way to play the game. Yelich was safe on that roller, but did you folks notice that Jones swung at what I believe was the first pitch, it was low and on the outside corner and he pulled a weak ground ball to the first baseman. We got away with it, but again he had a terrible AB. Rather than Marisnick, who is a superior CF moving to 1B, how about Dietrich. The guy can hit and he is a liability at 2B, so why not. Not because the FO will take a long time before they admit that signing Jones (an untended player) was a huge mistake.

A Realist

I thought about that too, Stan. It could work. The only thing that makes me nervous is his fielding as of late. I worry about him picking up those short-hops from short and third. It could work though. I like his bat too and the kid's got moxy. He's out there to prove he belongs. He needs to stay humble at the same time, though.

Alex

Yes Stan, we got lucky on that Jones grounder. Smoak should have tried for the DP rather than throwing home. He made the mistake of underestimating Yelich's speed. A lot of guys do that, LOL.

Stan M

What disturbs me, Alex, is why in hell is Jones trying to pull a low, outside pitch in the first place with bases loaded and one out. A simple ground ball to the left side would have tied the score. But he shouldn't have swung at the pitch, it was a pitcher's pitch and it was just about impossible to hit it hard. A thoughtful hitter takes that pitch. Ozuna also swung at ball 4 and then hit a weak fly to CF. He's young and inexperienced, but Jones is a veteran, but not a very good one. In my opinion, he's got to either step up, or sit down.

Lou Vales

Stan, What do you think of Dietrich's fielding troubles stemming from the shot he took to the face? Kubek bounced back pretty wee as did a guy named, Miguel Cabrera, who almost had his head taken off. For Pete's sakes he is playing 2B and not 3B. I find all this talk about taking time to get back in the groove to be amazing. Let's win a series from the Bravos. And how many games for Furcal on the rehab, 40?

Lou Vales

Slo Mo is hurt???? Shocking!!!

Flav C.

With all due respect, I would not try any experiment on 1B.

Jones is solid defensively, and over the last 6 games, he's been hitting .260 with 4 rbis, 2 HRs and 3 runs. He's been having much better at bats, making pitchers work a lot and has reduced his strikeouts.

Even today, while everybody is complaining about his weak swing to tie he game, on his previous at-bat he was robbed of a single and rbi, with Ozuna on 3B, when he hit really well to right field and Smoak was very lucky deflecting the hit which went straight to Cano. As long as he doesn't hit #4 and stays on the bench as PH against lefty-starters, Jones can and will be very important as we move further in the season.

Solano showed how good his range is while fielding a hard-hit groundball by Cano.

And to me, I would like to praise Slowey that kept a low score, didn't walk anybody, and gave the Fish an opportunity to win this game.

Caminero had his combo fastball-slider working really well, and that is really promising.

Now heading to Atlanta, to play a Braves whose bullpen has played 11 innings (7 today) over the last 3 games.

Key of the game will be: Patience at the plate and make Teheran waste lots of pitches early on. The quicker he's out the better. He's been spot on so far this season.

Lou Vales

Has Teheran even been to Qom?

Flav C.

Only to Isfahan.

Stan M

Flav, of course we have to play Jones until he either produces, or plays himself off the team. It's not that he has been unproductive as much as where he bats in the lineup unproductively. He is almost averaging 2 Ks per game. Let him do that in the 7th position.

What do you know about Viosergy Rosa down in high A ball? Good BA and excellent OBP. What particularly impresses me is 12 walks and only 8Ks. At almost 24 he's a little old for that classification, but if he keeps hitting like he is, AA can't be far off. I jinxed poor Avery Romero. A week ago I mentioned he was really smacking the ball. So he's gone oh for 15 and 3 for 24 since.

Dietrich is a young player with excellent power potential and problems at 2B that have affected the team. Jones is a journeyman entering his downside years who has been disappointing. This team is in transition and could break out next year into a contender. Why not experiment with Dietrich at 1B? Pittsburgh thought so much of him after several years that he was non tendered and they just picked up Ike Davis to replace him. Ike Davis? Really? Flav, you are an incredibly knowledgeable source of information and extremely valuable to this blog. I have always respected your opinions. But so help me, in your defense of Redmond and now Jones, you sound like Joe Frisero or one of the toadies in the Marlin FO. In my heart I realize that it's not going to happen. but it's a nice idea to dream about.

Juan Yanes

Marlins need urgently reinforce their bullpen, they have the guy (Henry Rodriguez )0.80 pcl in triple A) but no action has been taken to bring him inmediatelly, why? I don't know, but remember several games have been loose for weak relievers appearances. It seem as front office doest'n matter fight for go to post season series, sorry for Marlins fans

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