Turns out the solo dinger he smashed in the bottom of the third inning was not the coolest thing Matt Carpenter did against the Miami Marlins Monday night, not by a long shot. With two down in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Marlins shifted their defense to the right side to face Carpenter. Carpenter, a lefty, is a smart leadoff hitter and a capable batsman, and he was perfectly ready to trump Miami’s attempted cuteness with some top-notch cuteness of his own:
Because of the dramatic overshift, the only player available to chase the ball up the left side was pitcher Elieser Hernandez, who had to run it down in short left in order to keep Carpenter from jogging into a damn triple. It’s not out of the question that baseball will someday prohibit the shift, but the better solution by far would be baseball players becoming skilled enough with the bat to make the shift a losing proposition. Certainly getting humiliated by the slowest double of the year will have the Marlins thinking twice about shifting against Carpenter in the future. The man’s slugging percentage increased on a damn two-out bunt.
Perhaps flustered by the stupidity of that play, the Marlins allowed Carpenter to come around and score in equally stupid fashion, when Starlin Castro and JT Riddle both flinched under a lazy pop-fly to center off the bat of Paul DeJong.
The Marlins went from having the bases empty with two down to giving up an insurance run, on a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher and a shallow fly that was fielded by nobody. If Rich Hill had been on the mound just then I truly believe he would’ve spontaneously burst into roaring flames and burned away to ash with the intensity of white phosphorus.