4/19/2014 7:05 P.M. ET
Late innings a work in progress for bullpen
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Late-inning letdowns have plagued the Marlins' bullpen over the past 12 games.
In Friday night's 8-4 walk-off win over the Mariners, a one-run lead was erased in the seventh inning. Prior to that, there have been several crushing home runs allowed by Miami's relievers.
The bullpen has surrendered seven home runs on the season, which is tied for the third highest in the game. Only the Angels (nine) and Astros (eight) have yielded more. A year ago, the Marlins regarded their bullpen as a strength, but thus far, its collective ERA is 4.02, which ranks 18th in baseball.
"I think if you'd have asked me if I thought our bullpen would give up some home runs late in the game, I'd say, 'No way,' after how good we were last year," manager Mike Redmond said. "But I do realize they're making adjustments too. We've made some pitches they can hit, and we're in a little bit of a cycle now that we've got to work through."
Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Carlos Marmol are handling much of the eighth-inning duties. Closer Steve Cishek stepped up with a perfect ninth inning on Friday in a tied game, and he collected the win.
Cishek's crisp inning gained some momentum for Miami's first walk-off win of the season.
Bullpens, like the rest of the team, go through ups and downs.
"Just like when your offense struggles," Redmond said. "You try to figure out why your offense struggles. It's the same with the pitching, the bullpen and the starters.
"Sometimes it's a group thing. Sometimes you need somebody to go out there and pitch out of a big situation, get out of a jam, and that will kind of follow through to everyone else. That's what we need."
Marlins hitters ready for when teams walk Stanton
MIAMI -- No matter the opponent, all the scouting reports about the Marlins say the same thing: Don't let Giancarlo Stanton beat you.
The Mariners were trying to avoid just that scenario on Friday night. They intentionally walked the Miami slugger twice. When they didn't, Stanton made them pay. The 24-year-old collected three hits, drove in five runs and ended the night with a walk-off grand slam in Miami's 8-4 win.
Heading into the series, Stanton had been intentionally walked just once. Manager Mike Redmond expects more intentional passes as the season progresses.
"It will be interesting to see as we go forward, I know we talk a lot about them walking him," Redmond said. "We really haven't seen that out of any other team. We'll see if that is going to be a trend and that will continue. Or teams in our division will still pitch to him. We'll see. That will be something we have to monitor going forward."
A major threat from the moment he was called up at age 20 on June 8, 2010, Stanton right now is blossoming into the all-around offensive threat many envisioned.
Quite frankly, in the past, teams knew they could pitch to Stanton. That's evident by how much he has been intentionally walked in his young career.
As a rookie in 2010, he was intentionally walked just six times. In the seasons that followed, the numbers were about the same -- six (2011), nine ('12) and five ('13). A year ago, that was less than Greg Dobbs, who was intentionally walked a team-high six times.
When teams do try to pitch around Stanton, the rest of the lineup has to step up. Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been hitting behind Stanton. At the top of the order in front of Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna have been getting on base.
"We've got to get guys in scoring position, but the guys behind him are going to have to get the job done," Redmond said. "That's the big thing. We've got to get guys on, and we can't rely on him to get all the big hits."
Stanton said Friday he is aware he could be getting the Barry Bonds treatment. But he was more upset at himself for his second-inning error that led to two unearned runs scoring.
"I got walked twice after it, but it was definitely in my mind the whole time," Stanton said of wanting to atone for his mistake. "Not distracting me, but more as a duty. If I get a chance to win this game, I better do it.
"I knew this game was going to be won or lost because of me. Good thing we came out on the higher side."
Why teams can't automatically put Stanton on base all the time is because Yelich has been getting on base.
"That's your job, when you hit at the top of the order, get on base and for the big guys behind you," Yelich said. "Especially when you've got a guy like Stanton, who is going the way he is right now. Get on base and give him an opportunity and great things are going to happen."
Marlins keeping transfer rule in mind in the field
MIAMI -- MLB's strictly enforced transfer rule has certainly gotten the attention of the Marlins, and it happened to play a big role in Friday night's 8-4 walk-off win over the Mariners at Marlins Park.
Giancarlo Stanton's game-ending grand slam was set up by an overturned call, because replay showed Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager didn't completely secure the baseball on the transfer when Marcell Ozuna's bunt moved Reed Johnson to third.
"That was our first real challenge that we had that we've won," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "It was big, getting Stanton up there with the bases loaded, and it worked out."
Initially, third-base umpire Lance Barrett ruled Johnson out at third after Seager received the throw from pitcher Yoervis Medina, who fielded Ozuna's bunt. But replay showed Seager didn't have full possession on the transfer, and Johnson was ruled safe.
"I've read the rule," Redmond said. "I think the plays that we've all watched and have seen throughout the big leagues this year, you definitely have to be able to pull the ball out of your glove and have possession of it."
The rule is impacting infielders and outfielders. Some are calling for a tweak to the rule. As of now, the league is seeking full possession, and even the smallest bobbles are going against the fielders.
"As far as where is it headed, I have no idea," Redmond said. "It's a rule we're all aware of, and you have to be able to pull the ball out of your glove and have control of it.
"Maybe now, because of the scrutiny of that play, we're realizing how frequently that play happens, as far as transfers, as far as infielders or outfielders. It's definitely a gray area the way that rule is interpreted."
• On the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain, Jacob Turner will throw a bullpen session on Sunday at Marlins Park. Barring a setback, the right-hander will begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday, pitching for Class A Advanced Jupiter.
• Rafael Furcal (left hamstring strain) is on rehab assignment at Jupiter, but beginning on Monday, he will join Double-A Jacksonville. The expectation is for him to spend at least a week with the Suns. After that, Furcal could be close to being reinstated. The initial plan is for him to spend pretty much all 20 days on the rehab assignment, but that is subject to change depending on how he reacts.
• During a pregame ceremony at Marlins Park on Saturday night, Jose Fernandez surprised a 17-year-old Special Olympics athlete with flowers. Sabrina Meador, who has down syndrome, was part of a team charity event representing the Special Olympics. Fernandez developed a bond with the girl, and posted an Instagram video -- (http://instagram.com/p/mzAaCtswpI/).