When it comes to overturning calls using baseball’s new replay rules, no team is doing it better than the Marlins. Miami has been successful on 17 of its 21 challenges this season, giving the Marlins an 80 percent success rate that is tops in the majors.
“I think it’s become a big weapon,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said of baseball’s new replay system.
So far this season, 657 calls have been challenged in the majors, with 345 — or 52.5 percent — getting overturned. The Marlins, clearly, are doing much better than the average. Their 17 overturns are also tied for first with the Royals and Giants. By contrast, the Cardinals have had only two correct challenges (out of 13 attempts) while the Reds are just 3 for 9.
If one assumes that the number of close plays from one team to the next equals out over the course of a 162-game season, it’s clear some teams are doing a much better job of it than others. In the name of Don Denkinger, how in the world have the Cardinals only managed to get two calls overturned this season when the league average is 11 1/2?
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Pat Shine is the watchdog for the Marlins.
During games, Shine sits inside the clubhouse, carefully scrutinizing not just every single play, but anywhere from 12 to 15 camera angles on each play. Whenever there’s a close play, Shine doesn’t have a lot of time to a) examine the replay, oftentimes more than once; b) determine whether a challenge is in order and c) call the information up to the dugout.
“He’s done a great job of seeing those plays and making a 15-second judgment,” Redmond said. “It’s not easy. He’s been a huge weapon for us, for sure. We buy him as much time as we possibly can. But, still, he’s got to be in on every play, and he’s got 10 or 15 seconds to make a judgment, safe or out.”
On Friday, one night after getting a call at first overturned in Atlanta, the Marlins challenged a safe call on Jose Altuve’s stolen base in Houston. Replays showed Donovan Solano had made a swipe tag on Altuve, who was ultimately ruled out.
“He’s been all over it and really become a big part of the team,” Redmond said of Shine. “When he gets them right, it fires everybody up, too. You think back to the one in San Francisco when [ Brandon Hicks] missed first base, that was all him.”
Jeff Baker took a 10-game hitting streak into Saturday, which might not sound like a big deal. But in addition to it representing the longest hitting streak of Baker’s career, he has also done it the hard way.
Baker came through with pinch-hits in four of those games, which left him one shy of matching the Marlins’ franchise record for consecutive pinch-hits, shared by Wes Helms (2008) and Greg Briley (1993).
“Obviously, the first month of the season for me was extremely rough,” Baker said. “But just staying with my approach, not trying to change and do too much because the stats aren’t exactly where you wanted them …”
• Though he had worked in five of the Marlins’ previous six games, earning saves in each,Steve Cishek
was available again on Saturday if the Marlins needed him.
“You doubting me?” Cishek asked.
After a rough patch, Cishek said he has made a couple of minor adjustments to get back on track.
“It’s just one little adjustment that I had to make, which was driving the ball down in the zone,” Cishek said. “Everything I threw in those other games were bad pitches, especially against Oakland. Everything was up.”
Marlins RHPJacob Turner
(3-6, 6.03 ERA) at Houston Astros RHPCollin McHugh
(4-8, 3.28), 2:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park.
Marlins RHPNathan Eovaldi
(5-6, 4.20) vs. Washington Nationals RHPJordan Zimmermann
(6-5, 3.20), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.