Marlins vs. Twins

Every Friday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the four competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Tuesday night’s Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

The Miami Marlins are a juggernaut, and the only thing that will stand in their way is a general lack of talent, very little depth and the remainder of their regular season schedule – which on most nights will have them competing against superior competition. It would be arguable whether or not this was the case on Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins visited Marlins Park for the very first time.

With a 4-2 victory over their guests, the Marlins have won four of their last five games in what has easily become their best run of the season. Miami achieved this despite a lackluster outing from their best pitcher, 20-year-old Jose Fernandez, who by my personal count had thrown 1,384 pitches by the second inning.

The young right-hander, who seemed to have difficulty reaching his typically high velocity in the humid conditions, saw 22 batters over five innings, allowing seven of them to get on base. Fortunately for Fernandez, only one of those seven managed to get home. This occurred in the third inning when former Marlins outfielder and super value free agent signing Josh Willingham knocked home Brian Dozier – who is a Major League Baseball player – with a two-out single.

Minnesota starter Kevin Correia didn’t look much better than Fernandez, completing six innings while giving up two runs from seven base runners of his own. The Marlins got to him until the sixth inning when 22-year-old outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who has been a pleasant surprise in Florida this season, took advantage of a bases loaded situation to drive home two runs. Ozuna started the season in High-A, and hasn’t looked out of place in more than 200 plate appearances at the big league level.

The Marlins added to their 2-1 lead in the seventh with a Derek Deitrich – no relation to Marlene – solo home run off the normally reliable LOOGY Brian Duensing that set off the famed monument to kitsch.

It’s just so Miami, you guys.

The Twins attempted to mount a comeback in the eighth inning with a two-out, lucky single off the bat of Trevor Plouffe that drove – I use the term loosely – in a run. It was the closest they would get though, as Ozuna supplied more heroics in the bottom half of the eighth with a double to center off of Josh Roenicke that scored Logan Morrison. Scott Cishek closed out the game with a three-up-three-down ninth inning.

The Win Expectancy Graph (Courtesy Of Fangraphs)

Source: FanGraphs

Of all the win expectancy graphs that I’ve ever seen, this is certainly one of them.

The Most Important Play Of The Game

Marcell Ozuna’s two-out, two-run single in the sixth raised the Marlins Win Expectancy by 23% to 78%. This is almost routine for Ozuna, who leads the Marlins in Win Probability Added this year and unsurprisingly has the highest clutch rating on the roster, more than five times higher than the next teammate.

While these numbers don’t typically predict success, there is some evidence to suggest that the great start to his career isn’t a total anomaly. He’s raked for power in his last two seasons as a Minor Leaguer, but hasn’t quite managed it at this level yet. Despite the lack of home runs, Ozuna is still providing above average production. Once he grows into being able to use his power more, and if he develops a more patient approach – his BB% isn’t exactly inspiring – look out.

It’s funny. I came into the game expecting to fall head-over-heels for Jose Fernandez, but walked away with a great appreciation for Ozuna to continue to shine in the Marlins outfield factory.

The Shamsky Award

Named after Art Shamsky, who single-handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

Trevor Plouffe was one of four Twins players to put up a positive Win Probability Added. In addition to the previously mentioned RBI single, he also drew a walk that ended up doing nothing for the team. This added up to increasing his team’s chances of winning by a whole nine per cent.

What the numbers don’t tell you is that he also made a really nice over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory in the fourth inning to help out his pitcher.

Way to go, Trevor. You barely made a difference, but it was bigger than anyone else’s contribution.

The Anatomy Of The Jamey Carroll Thing

Jamey Carroll came into the game as a defensive replacement for the Twins in the 8th inning despite the fact that they didn’t have the lead. It might seem a strange bit of strategy, but the odds that his turn in the batting order would come up again were long. Carroll has played 1,241 games over 12 years as a Major Leaguer. Most would judge that to be a successful career.

He’s the type of player that has received and will continue to get chances to play, not because he’s versatile and functional as a defender, but because he takes the most wonderfully consistent photos every Spring Training during picture day.

Jamey Carroll

Expos Media Day

Washington Nationals

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Cleveland Indians Photo Day

Cleveland Indians Photo Day

2010 Major League Baseball Photo Day

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day

Minnesota Twins Photo Day

2013 Minnesota Twins Photo Day

If you speak with those whose job it is to detect fraud, they’ll tell you that the best way to spot counterfeit signatures is not through differences between the real and the fake, but rather similarities. Forged signatures lack the unique alterations that come from a personal touch. Therefore, since Jamey Carroll has the exact same expression in every picture, he is quite clearly a counterfeit.

I have no conclusive proof of this theory, but there is some photographic evidence to suggest he’s an alien who chose to disguise himself as a baseball player to get close to baseball bats which are consumed as a delicacy on his home planet.

2011 MLBPA - The Players Choice Photo Shoot - Los Angeles Dodgers

Again, it’s just a theory.

The Awufl Thing The Broadcast Did

Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton of FOX Sports Florida are heterosexual men. The two combined to make viewers painfully aware of this throughout their broadcast on Tuesday, not only with their famed Camera 12, which offers an inside view of the buxom beauties serving customers at the Clevalander poolside bar and grill in the outfield, but also through their saliva-dripping description of the FOX Sports babes who were interviewed for three minutes by the congenial Allison Williams.

On a homerism scale of one and ten, the broadcast was decimal points shy of Hawk Harrelson, with their constant justifying of a terrible roster combined with perpetual shilling for the stadium. After each and every mention of one of the stadium’s features, someone on the broadcast would describe that quality as being “so Miami.” The term was used so frequently it felt as though they were pitching a show to the CW Network.

The Marlins also held a social media promotion on Tuesday night that the broadcast featured during multiple breaks. This provided a couple of humorous instances like when the two-man booth began extolling the virtues of social media for an entire inning before admitting that they didn’t understand Instagram, but really wanted to get involved with it because they always desire to be on the good side of bloggers. My favorite moment occurred when the always willing Williams asked one of the participants in the social media day what it meant to her. She replied that it was surprising because she had only joined Twitter a week earlier.

The Things You Won’t Believe

1. Juan Pierre is still a Major League Baseball player.
2. Juan Pierre is still a contributing Major League Baseball player.
3. Juan Pierre played left field last night for the Marlins.
4. Juan Pierre is uncannily durable.
5. Juan Pierre has played in 1944 games over 14 seasons of baseball.
6. Juan Pierre has only twice missed time due to injury.
7. Juan Pierre has only been placed on the Disabled List once.
8. Juan Pierre was both day-to-day and placed on the DL in 2008, and hadn’t missed time before, nor has he since.
9. Juan Pierre has a career WAR of 24.
10. Juan Pierre has earned more than $57 million in his career.

Stray Observations

Giancarlo Stanton is quite obviously big and large and huge, and his home runs when they are big and large and huge are amazing to watch. However, in his first at-bat of Tuesday’s game, he just sort of plunked a Kevin Correia offering off the wall in right for a two-out double that very nearly was a home run. It was so effortless.

How Ron Gardenhire gets a free pass while everyone mocks the facial expressions conjured up by Mike Scioscia is far, far, far beyond me.

This game was especially punishable to me considering that the Marlins were coming off winning two of three against the San Francisco Giants in their previous series. Considering how rare wins are for this ball club, you would be correct in your assumption that they would not take their success form this past weekend lightly. It was really nice to relive all those moments all broadcast long.

I’m not sure if it was the conditions on the field or if this was a normal thing, but Jose Fernandez would throw his breaking pitch in unexpected counts, and almost every time he’d come back with a high fastball on his next pitch. Even with his velocity not what it has been, he’d still induce whiffs.

If given the choice, do you think the Marlins would take this year off? Just go on a sabbatical for the season, and let their players develop a little more while not burning up service time?

Minnesota committed three errors on Tuesday. They looked awful in the field, and so did the Marlins … except for Adeiny Hechavarria who was a pleasure to watch at shortstop. He flows at defense like a jug of water being poured out that’s not bound by gravity, but still stays together.

I believed that I liked low scoring games, but in reality I like well-pitched games. I learned the difference on Tuesday between a low scoring game and an offensively futile match up.

Josh Roenicke has an appearance that leads one to believe he’d just as soon harvest your organs as he would look at you.

Minnesota Twins v Miami Marlins

Consider your kidneys gone.