Luck is something the Marlins are not used to finding in late innings. If it wasn’t for some unlikely offensive surges, the Fish would have lost at least three or four more games in the past week and a half. Yesterday the Marlins were on the brink of defeat when a nice bounce allowed a double play ball to turn into a single-out ball, which in turn became an errant throw allowing Florida to pull ahead in New York.
Tommy Hutton was right, the play became what it did because of John Buck, the runner on first. With the bases loaded and one out, Bryan Petersen bounced a chopper to the second baseman Justin Turner. The ball was hit slow enough that attempting to turn double play would have been risky, especially with Petersen’s speed. John Buck stopped a third of the way to second base in order to avoid a tag from Turner. This diminished a double play opportunity, which allowed the runner from third to score. When Buck resumed running, Turner threw widely to first, and Mike Cameron, who had started the play on second base, was able to trot home. Buck proceeded to third and Petersen to second.
The Marlins were unable to score any insurance runs in the inning, but that was enough for closer Leo Nuñez to record his 31st save. Florida now stands at an even .500. I thought they would never get back to that point this season. After they took three of three in D.C., they dropped two straight. That put them three games under, but with a nice winning streak the Marlins are sailing even seas under skipper Jack McKeon.
Now, it seems that when you give Leo Nuñez a substantial lead, he gets hammered. But when he takes the hill up a run, he’s as good as anybody. He has allowed two ninth inning homers to Lucas Duda in the last week. One of which was two nights ago. That was a two-run blast which tied the game. Fortunately, Mike Stanton slammed the door with a bases loaded homer (I can’t use ‘slam’ twice in a sentence) in the 10th.
At the game I attended last week, Nuñez entered midway through the ninth and surrendered some offense ultimately resulting in Laynce Nix nearly tying the game. Again, the Marlins found luck and Mike Stanton caught the ball on the warning track.
Whenever I use the words ‘luck’ or ‘fortune,’I end up using Mike Stanton’s name in the same sentence. Hear that Beinfest? Don’t get rid of the guy. Stanton is a monster, and that’s putting it lightly. He will do well, and he will get expensive, but with his talent, nothing is too expensive.
Finally, Emilio Bonifacio is on a four-game hitting streak. His versatility is the kind of style I believe a player needs nowadays to go on a hitting spree. Guys like Andre Ethier and Ryan Zimmerman have had 30 game hit streaks in recent history, but that’s as far those types of players will get. They are better raw hitters than Bonifacio, but they can’t leg out a base hit when they chop one to the shortstop. Jack McKeon said that “the streak” is unbreakable, but if Bonifacio, or if Boni 2.0 comes around and starts spraying hits, I think it’s doable.