First base: Here come the Marlins. The Marlins won their sixth straight game to improve to .500. All six wins came on the road, in San Francisco and San Diego, with four of the wins coming by one run and two in extra innings. The key battle in Sunday's 6-3 win over the Padres came in eighth inning with the game tied, the bases loaded, two outs and Giancarlo Stanton facing reliever Andrew Cashner. Stanton saw eight high-octane fastballs from Cashner -- seven at 101 mph, one at 102 mph. Stanton missed the first pitch, later fouled off two pitches and then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to give the Marlins the lead. With Cashner perhaps rattled by the bases-loaded walks, the Marlins proceeded to add three more runs on a John Buck passed ball, a Gaby Sanchez single and another passed ball.
"I saw 102 (mph) but you can throw 120 and without command you are going to get hurt," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's all about command and making good pitches. It was a hell of an at-bat." Stanton is also getting locked in. After going homerless for 19 games, he's hit five in his past eight games. Ricky Nolasco also pitched well again, improving to 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA. He's allowed 12 runs in his start, relying on control (nine walks) and keeping the ball in the park (one home run). The Marlins finish their road trip with three games in Houston. Could this be a 9-0 trip?
Second base: Let's settle this on the playground. You have to love Jamie Moyer and Chipper Jones getting into a little squabble over stealing signs. Kids will be kids, I guess. Moyer accused Jones of relaying signs while on second base. But what's odd is Chipper's response: "Any time a grown man gets his integrity questioned, they're going to take it seriously and I'm no different. If he wants to discuss it, we'll discuss it, but he's wrong, plain and simple," he said. But haven't we been led to believe that stealing signs is, you know, part of the game? A sort of legal way to cheat, as opposed to, oh, let's say performance enhancing drugs. Yet Chipper acts like his his very manhood was thrown in the gutter. Could it be that stealing signs is considered an immoral way to victory?
Third base: Mixed messages. Two pitchers in need of positive returns also delivered on Sunday, as Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez threw seven shutout innings against the Rangers while Mat Latos struck out 11 in six scoreless frames. However, let's not get too excited just yet. While Jimenez allowed just two hits, he also walked five against six strikeouts, a sign that his control issues remain an issue (25 walks, just 20 strikeouts on the season). Latos' game came against the Pirates; still, that's two scoreless outings in his past three starts. While I'd still be concerned about Jimenez, maybe Latos is finally showing the talent that made him so effective with the Padres.
Home plate. Tweet of the day. Bryce Harper stole home. On a pickoff throw to first base by Cole Hamels. After reaching when Hamels hit him with a pitch. Which Hamels admitted after the game he did on purpose. As Joe Sheehan tweeted ...
Bryce Harper is going to end up as one of those barometers, where you divide humanity into the people who like him and the ones who don't.
— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 7, 2012