Pinch-run delay bothers Marlins

Having a pitcher wait around on the mound for a replacement once is rare. For a delay to occur twice within a week, has some Marlins a little bothered.

The awkward delay in the fifth inning on Sunday at Wrigley Field was the latest incident involving the Marlins. 

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano reached on a bunt single off Ricky Nolasco. But when sprinting to first, Zambrano strained his left hamstring. Zambrano was examined by the trainer, causing a brief delay. Then manager Lou Piniella heads over, causing more time to pass as Nolasco is standing around.

Zambrano stays in game, and Alfonso Soriano steps in to hit. Then the Cubs dugout calls time, and Zambrano is replaced by a pinch runner. However, the runner is Rich Harden, who doesn’t have the proper shoes on. So Harden takes a few minutes to get ready.

Again a delay. Nolasco is given the option to throw pitches as he waits.

Four batters later, Derrek Lee hits the grand slam.

“I don’t understand what’s going on there,” Nolasco said of the delay. “I don’t know how that’s acceptable. It doesn’t affect me, but it’s just odd. I don’t know how it’s allowed to happen.”

The irony is Sunday marked the second time during the road trip that a Marlins pitcher was standing around for a delay caused during a substitution by the opposing team.

In the ninth inning of last Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Mets at Citi Field, New York manager Jerry Manuel called for Omir Santos to pitch hit with the bases loaded and two outs. Santos, a catcher, was in the bullpen, and it took him several minutes to reach the mound. Matt Lindstrom awaited his arrival, and he was given permission to throw warmup pitches. Even though the Marlins won that day, the were upset by the stoppage.

A few days ago, the Marlins sent a letter to MLB regarding the incident, and the league on Saturday levied an undisclosed fine on Manuel for violating the league’s “pace of game” stipulations.

“That’s the second time that happened to us this year,” catcher John Baker said. “The first time it worked out OK, but it’s frustrating. You’ve got a guy in a big situation standing on the mound. He wasn’t quite the same. It’s not necessarily an excuse for him, but it kind of is, in a sense. As a catcher, you see something is different.

“He has to wait, and throw a couple of warmup pitches. Even Soriano was a little bit frustrated as a hitter. He kept kind of looking in the dugout, throwing his hands up, like saying ‘Let’s go.’ “

— Joe Frisaro 


I really do not understand what is going on with MLB umpires. Its one thing to have this sort of thing happen twice within one season, but it is another to have it happen twice within a few games, with the same team pitching. The first occurrence against the Mets almost caused the Marlins to lose the game. If the backup catcher is in the pen, warming up pitchers, it is the Mets fault for having the bullpen behind right field – no one told them to construct their new stadium with a bullpen soo far away. The umpire should have started calling strikes in that situation. In today’s game, especially with MLB fining the Mets for what happened earlier this week, the head umpire today should have done something to get the Cubs going. I completely understand it was an injury, but come on. I agree with Nolasco and Baker that it is not an excuse as to why Nolasco gave up a grand slam, but if it stops the flow of the game, as well as the pitchers rhythm, then something should have been done to get the replacement base runner out to first base quicker. Hopefully MLB will send out a notice to all the umpires to explain the options they have in case these events occur again. I see the Cubs get fined, just like the Mets. It is a very unfortunate event for the Marlins; at least the umpires can learn from this experience and move forward and hopefully the rest of the games played from here on out, can be “delay” free!

There was a difference in Sunday’s game though.
You could see that Pinella was infuriated that no one was emerging from the dugout in timely fashion to replace Zambrano on the bases, and it all came about due to an injury. It’s not like Pinella was telling his guys to take their time or wavering as to whether or not to take Zambrano out. What Manuel did was a little classless, and it was a desperate move by a desperate manager. I don’t think Pinella had the same intentions that Manuel did. It was just unfortunate that it happened against the Marlins twice in one week.

Test comment, comments working great here!


The issue, in my opinion, isn’t whether the delay caused the grand slam or not. It’s about the pace of the game rule. The league made a point last year to speed things up. Pitchers, for instance, have 12 seconds to throw a pitch. Umpires have cracked down on this. Hitters can’t keep leaving the batter’s box. So if you are going to have a pace of game priority, then enforce it. In the NFL, if you want to make a substitution and you don’t do it in a certain time you can get a delay of game. I know there was an injury, yet, someone could have gotten word to Rich Harden to have his shoes ready much sooner. I don’t buy the logic. “We didn’t mean to be late.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: