Season-high eight walks wasted
The pitch that will be remembered is Leo Nunez’s 94 mph fastball that ran back over the plate and Matt Treanor drove to deep center for a two-run triple.
It was the decisive hit in the Rangers’ 3-2 comeback victory over the Marlins on Tuesday night.
The sequence that is being lost in the outcome is the two-out walk to Julio Borbon, setting up Treanor’s game-changing pinch-hit. The Rangers had Josh Hamilton on third in a one-run game. The free pass to Borbon, the Ranger’s eighth hitter, put the potential go-ahead run on base. Treanor’s triple did the rest.
Perhaps Nunez was being more careful with a base open and Borbon being a left-handed hitter. Treanor bats from the right side, so the matchup seemed to favor Nunez. Regardless, the walk resulted in the winning run scoring.
Because Treanor’s hit ultimately decided the outcome, it overshadowed another significant fact on the night.
The Marlins were one out away from securing a victory on a night in which they had just three hits, including a two-run homer from Hanley Ramirez.
Even with a smattering of hits, the Marlins had a number of baserunners, courtesy of the Rangers staff. In all, the Marlins drew a season-high eight walks. Yet, only one of them scored. Setting up Ramirez’s home run in the sixth inning was a walk to Gaby Sanchez.
This season, the Marlins have drawn as many as six walks seven times. They are now 5-2 in those games. The other setback came on June 6 at the Mets, when they collected six walks in a 7-6 loss. On that day, however, the Marlins pitchers also walked six.
Capitalizing on free passes is crucial for any team. During the season, the Marlins offense has had as many as five walks in 17 games, and they are 10-7 in those contests. A reason their result isn’t better is because five times in those games, their own pitchers have walked at least five.
Perhaps if the Marlins had taken care of their free passes on Tuesday, Nunez wouldn’t have had to work with just a one-run lead in the ninth.
– Joe Frisaro