Jazz's electric play highlights key avenue for offense

OF scores from second off sac bunt; baserunning a point of emphasis for Marlins

May 22nd, 2024

MIAMI -- needed to shake things up after consecutive hitless performances, so he changed his hairstyle to one reminiscent of the late rapper Coolio. Not only did it lead to two base hits, but it also added extra speed on the basepaths.

Though Miami dropped Tuesday night’s matchup with Milwaukee 7-5 at loanDepot park, where former Marlin Christian Yelich produced the go-ahead two-run triple in the eighth, Chisholm’s athleticism sparked a three-run rally in the sixth.

Trailing 4-2 with runners at first and second and no outs, Otto Lopez chopped a bunt off home plate against Brewers rookie southpaw Robert Gasser. When catcher William Contreras threw to first baseman Jake Bauers, lead runner Chisholm bolted for home, which was left unoccupied, and scored.

"I'm not sure how many people can run the bases like that,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “Really impressive. The instincts are real. Not a lot of people can do what he did.”

According to Statcast, Chisholm recorded a 30.9 ft/sec sprint speed (30 ft/sec is considered elite) for his fastest time of the season. He went from second to home in 6.62 seconds.

“As soon as I saw the catcher field the ball,” Chisholm said of when he decided to go home. “He was pretty far from home plate and his momentum was still going away from the plate, so [I] just used my speed to get us some runs, get a rally going.”

Chisholm’s heads-up baserunning came a day after Yelich stole home as the then-go-ahead run when catcher Nick Fortes lobbed a throw back to lefty Ryan Weathers.

This wasn’t the first time Chisholm has had an electric baserunning play. He also scored from second on Jesús Aguilar’s infield hit on May 2, 2022, against the D-backs.

“I'm just trying to find a way to win, so for me, it's like anything I could do to help a team win,” Chisholm said. “I know I can go out there and play defense, offense, or get on the bags, and that's how I feel like whenever I don't get a hit. If I get on the bags, I'm going to try my best to score. I'm going to try and play defense. Nobody else is going to get a hit, just to help my team win in some way and play my best.”

Miami will rarely outslug its opponent, as evidenced by the club being tied with Tampa Bay for 23rd in the Majors with 41 homers. The Marlins entered Tuesday with the sixth-fewest runs per game (3.82).

In order to put runs across the board, they need to get creative. More games like Tuesday will work. Miami was tied for 10th in the Majors when it comes to taking the extra base (44 percent). MLB average is 42 percent.

As the sixth inning progressed, Emmanuel Rivera tied the game at 4 with an RBI single with the infield drawn in. Christian Bethancourt then executed a perfect hit and run, shooting a grounder through the vacated right side of the infield to place runners at the corners for Dane Myers’ sacrifice fly.

“The last two nights we've run the bases really well,” Schumaker said. “A lot of stolen bases yesterday at the right time, late in the game, leverage spot, and then today was a really good baserunning day taking the extra base. Lopez bunted on his own. That was on him and executed really well. Rivera and Bethancourt right behind him, really good at-bats in leverage spots. Dane Myers had good at-bats tonight getting the ball in the outfield to make sure the run scored. Same with [Josh] Bell [in the fifth].

“There was a lot of small ball and really good baseball played, and when you come back like that, it definitely hurts a little bit more when you make that comeback and then lose. But again, there's a lot of positives that came out from tonight's game. A loss is still a loss, though. I get it, but I'm proud of how they fought the last couple of nights, and including tonight.”

Unfortunately for Miami, the rally didn’t hold as lefty A.J. Puk. permitted Yelich’s winning knock after a two-out walk to Contreras. The Marlins were poised for their seventh win in nine games.

“Give credit to the Marlins, man,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said. “They did everything they needed to do. This team's hot, they're playing great. It seems like they're hungry. And they swing the bat great. Gasser did a good job, but give credit to the Marlins, man. They strung together hits, they hit in the clutch. [They're] scrappy.”