May 10, 2016

The Home Run That Wasn't

In case you missed last night's baseball oddity, the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto hit a home run that was negated when he passed Marcell Ozuna on the base path -- a violation of Rule 7.08 (h). Ozuna took blame for the gaffe, as did first base coach Perry Hill. I'm not sure Realmuto wasn't at fault, either, for not paying close enough attention to Ozuna's whereabouts.

Judge for yourself: 

This sort of blunder does not happen very happen above the Little League level. Retrosheet.org has documented a list of instances in which a home run was taken away for passing a runner. It's not a very long one, but involves quite a few famous names. Interestingly, Marlins manager Don Mattingly, when asked if he had every seen anything like it before, could only nod his head in the affirmative. He was with the Yankees in 1985 when a nearly identical play involved Bobby Meacham and Willie Randolph.

Courtesy of Retrosheet.org, here's the list:

9/12/1920 - In the top of the fourth inning of a game in Chicago, Washington's Frank Ellerbe was on first base with two outs. Patsy Gharrity hit the ball into the left field bleachers for an apparent two-run homer. When Ellerbe heard the fans in those seats cheering he thought Joe Jackson had caught the ball which would have ended the inning. After rounding third base, Ellerbe turned and went to his shortstop position. Meanwhile Gharrity trotted around the bases. When he rounded third base, he was called out for passing Ellerbe. Both umpires, Bill Dineen and Ollie Chill, made the call. Washington argued that since the ball was out of play it did make any difference that Gharrity passed Ellerbe. The headline in the next days' New York Times read: "Gharrity's Homer Retires His Side." This event had no affect on the game as the Senators beat the White Sox, 5-0.

9/15/1930 - In the bottom of the second with runners on 1b and 2b, Dodger Glenn Wright hit the ball to right-center. It looked like it might be caught so Babe Herman slowed up as he neared 2b. The ball bounced over the fence for a home run but Wright had his head down as he ran between 1b and 2b. Consequently, he passed Herman and was called out. He lost a homer but still knocked in 2 runs.

4/26/1931 - In the first inning with Lyn Lary on first and two out, Lou Gehrig hit a home run into the centerfield bleachers at Griffith Stadium. However, the ball caromed back to the centerfielder. Lary returned to the dugout, evidently thinking the ball was caught. Gehrig was declared out for passing the runner and lost the homer. He ended the year tied for the lead in homers with Babe Ruth.

5/26/1959 - Joe Adcock lost a homer in Harvey Haddix' perfect game. In the bottom of the 13th inning, after Felix Mantilla reached on an error and was sacrificed to second, Hank Aaron was intentionally walked. Adcock then hit his home run. However, Aaron didn't know the ball left the park, so he returned to the dugout and Adcock was called out for passing Aaron.

4/21/1967 - Tony Oliva of Minnesota lost a home run due to a base running blunder. Playing in Detroit in the third inning, Cesar Tovar was the runner at first base. Oliva hit the ball out of the park off Denny McLain, but then passed Tovar between first and second. He was credited with a single and one RBI for scoring Tovar.

7/18/1969 - Don Buford hit the ball into the right field seats in Fenway Park in the eighth inning. Tony Conigliaro leaped and fell into the stands, but did not have the ball when he came up. The first base umpire, Bob Stewart, gave no signal. Dave May, running at first, hesitated, then started back to first base. Buford passed him and May was called out while Buford circled the bases. A five minute argument followed. Earl Weaver argued about Stewart's delayed home run call. Buford was credited with a run scoring single, and May with a run scored, even though those events never actually happened on the field. Home plate umpire Red Flaherty allegedly called May out, which was why he stopped running. The hit came off Ray Jarvis, who was ahead 6-0 at the time. May's run was the only tally of the game for the Orioles.

7/9/1970 - In the seventh inning at Tiger Stadium, Dalton Jones pinch hit for Jim Price with the bases loaded. Jones hammered the 2-2 pitch into the upper deck in right field for a grand slam. However, Jones passed Don Wert between first and second and was called out, thus ending up with a 3-RBI single. Vicente Romo had entered the game to face Jones.

6/19/1974 - Giant Ed Goodson hit a home run in the third inning off Bob Gibson at St. Louis with Garry Maddox on first and no one out. Unfortunately, Goodson passed Maddox between first and second. Goodson was credited with a single and a run batted in.

7/4/1976 - Catcher Tim McCarver of the Phillies hit a grand slam in the second inning of the first game of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. The 375 foot homer came off Larry Demery. However, after rounding first base, McCarver passed Garry Maddox and was called out. He received credit for a single and three runs batted in.

6/24/1977 - Ralph Garr of the White Sox homered off Minnesota's Paul Thormodsgard in Minneapolis. It came in the third inning with two men on and no one out. Jim Essian, the runner on first, thought the ball might be caught by the Twins' right fielder, Dan Ford, so he retreated towards first base. Garr was watching the flight of the ball and passed Essian after rounding the bag. He was credited with a single and two runs batted in.

5/14/1982 - Pittsburgh's Lee Lacy batted in the bottom of the eighth inning as the first batter to face Tom Hume of the Reds. The bases were loaded with no outs and Lacy hit one of Hume's pitches out of the park. However, in the celebration during his run around the bases, Lacy passed Omar Moreno between first and second. He is credited with a single and three runs batted in. Luckily, Moreno's run won the game for the Pirates 8-7.

4/29/1985 - The Yankees had runners on 1B and 2B in the top of the fourth inning at Texas when Bobby Meacham hit a ball that just cleared the fence for a homer. He paid no attention to the fact that Willie Randolph stayed near 1B waiting to see if the ball would drop in. Meacham passed Randolph after rounding 1B and was called out. Randolph and Butch Wynegar both scored on the play and Meacham was credited with a single. Those runs put the Yanks up 4-0 but the Rangers won, 7-5.

9/26/1998 - The Pirates' Adrian Brown singled to lead off the top of the fourth in Cincinnati. Jose Guillen was hit by a Pete Harnisch pitch. Kevin Young then homered to LF and Guillen rounded 2B and passed Brown, turning a three-run homer into a two-run shot. The Reds won 6-2.

4/16/2006 - Javy Lopez of the Orioles hit a home run to left center as Darin Erstad attempted to catch the ball at the wall. The runner on first, Miguel Tejada, thinking the ball was caught, returned towards the bag and Lopez rounded first and passed Tejada. Lopez was called out and Tejada scored on the play, giving Lopez an RBI single over the wall.

May 05, 2016

Adam Conley sets Miami Marlins record for consecutive hitless innings by starter

Don't call him Johnny Vander Meer. But Adam Conley made himself a little Marlins history Thursday when he extended his string of consecutive hitless innings to 11 1/3 -- a club record for a starter.

Conley, who delivered 7 2/3 hitless innings in Milwaukee on Friday, added three more on Thursday before the Diamondbacks' Wellington Castillo ended the streak with a two-out single in the fourth. He was also credited with 2/3-scoreless inning two starts back.

According to Elias, the previous record for consecutive hitless innings by a Marlins starter -- 10 -- was shared by Al Leiter, Kevin Brown and Anibal Sanchez, each of whom threw a no-hitter in the process.

The record for consecutive hitless innings by any Marlins pitcher belongs to reliever Armando Benitez -- 14 straight in 2004.

 

April 29, 2016

Here's what Dee Gordon can and cannot do while suspended

According to Major League Baseball, here's what Dee Gordon can and cannot do while serving his 80-day suspension for a violation of the league's drug policy:

1) Cannot receive pay

2) Cannot participate in the Arizona Fall League

3) Cannot participate in postseason games

4) Cannot be elected or selected to the All-Star Game

5) Can participate in spring training if applicable and extended spring training (games and workouts)

6) Can participate in affiliated Winter league games

7) Can work out with the club

8) Can participate in batting practice before the gates open before a game

9) Can consent to an assignment to a Minor League affiliate for a period of time

Dee Gordon says in statement he 'ingested something that contained prohibited substances' unknowingly

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon released the following statement through Major League Baseball's Players Association on Friday morning regarding his 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Dee Gordon"Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances.  The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization, and the fans.  I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20+ tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this.  I made a mistake and I accept the consequences."

Gordon, 28, tested positive for the banned substances exogenous testosterone and clostebol. He signed a five-year, $50 million extension in January after winning the National League batting title, winning a Gold Glove and leading the league in steals.

Gordon's suspension will cost him about half of his $3.3 million salary for this season and also keeps him out of the postseason should the Marlins get there.

Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

Few things surprise me anymore. But Dee Gordon getting hit with an 80-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs?

When it comes to shockers, this one has to rank at or near the top of the list. Last year's batting champion, a gnat of a second baseman, was hit with a big-time suspension by the league for PEDS.

This is an obvious blow to the Marlins.

But Dee Gordon? Who would have thunk it?

It might help explain why he's off to such a slow start at the plate, and why the Gold Glove second baseman has looked out of sorts with the glove. He flubbed another ground ball tonight in Los Angeles, where the Marlins polished off a four-game sweep over the Dodgers.

But whatever cheer came from that series sweep for the Marlins was quickly muffled with the league's announcement that Gordon had been caught breaking the rules.

This isn't a slugger we're talking about here. Gordon hits two or three home runs a year. He's a singles hitter who steals bases.

Gordon signed a five-year deal with the Marlins over the winter, and owner Jeffrey Loria presented him with a gigantic neck pendant last week in Miami for his achievements last season.

The picture doesn't make sense.

But Gordon broke the rules, and he and the Marlins are left with the broken pieces.

April 26, 2016

Marlins send Jarred Cosart to minors; Justin Nicolino expected to step into rotation

LOS ANGELES -- The same troubling pitching signs that caused Jarred Cosart to spend most of last season in the minors prompted his return.

The Marlins on Tuesday optioned Cosart to Triple A New Orleans.

Cosart has battled wildness while going 0-1 with a 7.98 ERA in his three starts. He's walked 15 with two wild pitches in 14 2/3 innings, and issued six walks in each of his past two starts, including Friday's outing in San Francisco.

Last season, Cosart's issues were attributed to vertigo. But that problem was corrected, supposedly, and there's been no indication that he's dealing with it once again.

The Marlins are expected to call up Justin Nicolino from New Orleans in time to make the start Wednesday against the Dodgers.

As for Cosart's roster spot, the Marlins reinstated third baseman Martin Prado from the paternity list. The Marlins also announced that left-hander Chris Narveson, who had been designated for assignment, was outrighted to New Orleans.

April 23, 2016

Mattingly after ejection: Marlins getting robbed

SAN FRANCISCO -- That didn't take long.

Don Mattingly wasted little time in receiving his first ejection as Marlins manager, tossed in Friday's fourth inning only 15 games into his short tenure with Miami.

But here's what made it interesting: Mattingly complained that the Marlins are getting robbed because they're, well, the Marlins.

"It's just 15 games now, and I know these guys don't mean to, but it just feels like any kind of close call or big situation, there's never a call that goes the Marlins' way," Mattingly said after being tossed by home plate umpire Brian Gorman for arguing balls and strikes.

“I’ve seen it at home and I’ve seen it on the road and I saw it tonight,” Mattingly said. “We see Pagan had a 1-2 or 2-2 pitch is right there and he doesn’t call it. Then, we see [during] Dietrich’s at-bat which was big because we had first and second and one out and he called the same pitch for a strike.

“I think my frustration is more over just what’s going on with the Marlins. I know the umpires don’t do that on purpose, but it just seems like subconsciously that it’s ok to screw the Marlins.”

It was the 21st ejection of Mattingly's managerial career.

Here's the breakdown of Marlins' managerial ejections, courtesy of Retrosheet.org

Fredi Gonzalez -- 11

Mike Redmond -- 7

Jim Leyland -- 6

John Boles -- 5

Rene Lachemann -- 4

Edwin Rodriguez -- 4

Jack McKeon -- 4

Jeff Torborg -- 3

Dan Jennings -- 3

Joe Girardi -- 2

Ozzie Guillen -- 2

Tony Perez -- 1

Don Mattingly -- 1

April 20, 2016

Bling by Bling: Jeffrey Loria Through the Years

When you make Jeffrey Loria happy, a big hunk of jewelry is often the reward. Just ask the 2003 World Series champion Marlins, Hanley Ramirez and, now, Dee Gordon.

On Tuesday, Loria presented Gordon with a jeweled-out neck pendant for winning the batting and stolen base titles last season. We are not talking small. The disc-shaped pendant is so large that Marlins manager Don Mattingly was heard to say: "Is that a chain or a belt buckle?" Gordon was almost at a loss for words.

Check out this bad boy:

IMG_2026

Gordon isn't the first Marlin to find himself in possession of some big bling, courtesy of the Marlins' owner. After Ramirez won the batting title in 2009, Loria gave him a diamond-studded pendant:

Ramirez

 But it was in 2003 when Loria went all out, ordering World Series rings that were the size of small golf balls, dwarfing all other championship rings before or since:

World series

 

April 13, 2016

Giancarlo Stanton: "That game doesn't get won last year"

NEW YORK -- Dee Gordon's 16-pitch at bat. Martin Prado's pinch-hit sacrifice fly. Derek Dietrich's two-out RBI single. The bullpen's four scoreless innings.

Add it all up, and the Marlins played arguably their most complete game in recent memory when they squeaked out a close win over the Mets on Tuesday.

"That game doesn't get won last year," Giancarlo Stanton said. "I feel like there was a lot of games last year where we just waited to lose rather than try to win. Something went wrong."

That wasn't the case Tuesday.

On a bitter cold night at Citi Field, a night when the Mets' Noah Syndergaard was dealing, the Marlins somehow prevailed in a 2-1 victory. It wasn't one Marlins player who made the difference. It was darn near every one of the 16 whose name showed up in the box score.

Take Jose Fernandez. His first two innings were a struggle. He gave up a run in the first and had totaled 51 pitches in the first two innings. But he worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and retired the final 10 batters he faced -- striking out the last four -- to keep the Marlins in the game.

"It was hard to get a grip on the ball," Fernandez said of the frigid conditions. ""I was trying to make a good pitch and trying to keep the boys in the game. The weather was rough, but you've got to battle."

Here are some of the other highlights:

-- After Justin Bour kept the fourth inning alive by beating the shift, grounding a single through the vacated left side of the infield, Dietrich singled off Syndergaard to drive in the Marlins' first run and tie the score.

-- In the eighth, when Jim Henderson took over for Syndergaard, Gordon worked a Marlins record 16-pitch at bat in which he ended it with a leadoff single. Gordon stole second. One out later, Henderson walked Christian Yelich and Stanton, loading the bases.

-- Prado, who didn't start Tuesday, was "running and jumping up and down" in the clubhouse, trying to get warm. Prado knew he would go in to pinch-hit for Bour if the Mets brought in a lefty, which they did when Terry Collins called on Jerry Blevins. Prado lofted a fly ball to right that was deep enough to score Gordon from third with the go-ahead run.

-- David Phelps came out of the bullpen for the Marlins and delivered two scoreless innings.

-- A.J. Ramos closed out the victory in the ninth.

"It wasn't one through nine," Stanton said of the individual contributions. "It was one through 15 or 16. That's huge. That's what it's going to need to be."

 

April 12, 2016

Bonds: A-Rod won't break HR record in 2 years

NEW YORK -- I'm not really sure why this is being portrayed as some great pronouncement, but Barry Bonds was quoted as saying he didn't think Alex Rodriguez would break his home record before the end of the 2017 season.

Rodriguez needs 74 more homers to tie -- and 75 to break -- Bonds' all-time mark of 762.

"No, not in two years," Bonds told the New York Daily News. (Here's the link: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/barry-bonds-alex-rodriguez-won-catch-home-run-record-article-1.2596993)

Let me take this a step further by saying I strongly doubt A-Rod will break the record even if he plays beyond 2017, the year his contract expires. And that's a big if.

Rodriguez turns 41 in July. He hit 33 home runs last year for the Yankees, but hasn't hit as many as 37 home runs in a season since 2007. The math doesn't add up for A-Rod.

Something else to consider: according to baseballreference.com, the Major League record for most home runs hit by a player over the age of 40 (going by a player's age on June 30) is 72, and it belongs to Carlton Fisk. The most home runs for a player over the age of 41 belongs to Bonds himself: 54.