Bahamian professional baseball player Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm got his second start in his major league career on Sunday, and came up with his first hit, but what Bahamians and baseball pundits were talking about afterwards was his running, leaping, over-the-shoulder, one-handed grab in shallow center field that was undoubtedly the defensive play of the game.
In the end, Chisholm and the Marlins fell 5-4 to the American League East Division-leading Tampa Bay Rays in extra innings, dropping the weekend series in Central Florida two games to one. The three-game series was played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida – the home of the Rays.
At the plate, Chisholm finished with a hit in four at-bats, and is now 1-for-8 in his Major League Baseball (MLB) career. He got the start at shortstop and batted seventh in the line-up.
In his first plate appearance, in the top of the second, Chisholm struck out swinging on four pitches. Once again, it was the curveball that got him as he struck out on that same pitch in his first at-bat in the majors last Wednesday. Rays starter Tyler Glasnow threw three curveballs at Chisholm in that first at-bat on Sunday.
In his second at-bat, Chisholm popped out to Rays third baseman Mike Brosseau for the first out of that inning. He had just three pitches in that at-bat.
Chisholm came up to bat again in the top of the seventh and got the first hit of his MLB career, slapping a single to right field. However, with second baseman Eddy Alvarez batting, he was picked off and caught stealing second base. Shortstop Willy Adames made the tag. Despite the out, Chisholm showed some speed on the play, completely sliding past second base which led to him being tagged out. Had he not slid past the bag, it’s likely that he would have been safe.
In the top of the ninth, Chisholm came up for what would turn out to be his final plate appearance of the afternoon. Trying to move the runner Lewin Diaz over to third, he bunt popped out to Rays’ third baseman Brosseau in foul territory on a 95.6 miles per hour (mph) sinker in what turned out to be a pivotal out in the game. A couple of fly balls ended the Marlins’ threat in that inning.
Once again, the Marlins squandered opportunities as they left eight runners on base as compared to just four for the Rays and they were a combined 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They had a 3-1 lead before the Rays tied it with a run each in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings and then won it with two runs in the bottom of the 10th after the Marlins took a short-lived lead in the top of the 10th. Starling Marte had a first inning two-run shot to give the Marlins an early lead but the Rays kept chipping away until they were able to earn the win in the bottom of the 10th. Pinch hitter Brandon Lowe had a game-winning sacrifice fly to Marte in the bottom of the 10th.
Rays reliever John Curtiss pitched the top of 10th for the Rays and picked up his third win of the season against no defeats.
As for 22-year-old Chisholm, he is now officially on the stats sheet in the majors, batting .125 on the season with a .125 on-base percentage (OBP) and a .250 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).
Defensively, highlighted by the over-the-shoulder leaping grab, he was a gem for the Marlins on Sunday. He got the first out of the game when he threw out Rays center fielder Manuel Margot on a grounder to short. In the bottom of the sixth, he got Rays shortstop Adames for the third out of that inning on a sharp grounder. It was in the bottom of the eighth when he turned in the defensive play of the game, catching a mini pop fly by Rays first baseman Nate Lowe off Marlins reliever Yimi García for the first out of that inning. Chisholm got a good jump on the play, sprinted toward shallow center field and made the remarkable over-the-shoulder grab, stealing a hit away from Lowe.
Defensively for the season, Chisholm has three put outs, four assists and one error in eight chances. He has a fielding percentage of .875.
On Friday, he came on as a pinch runner for Marlins starting shortstop Miguel Rojas in the top of the ninth and reached second on a fielding error but was out at third on a forced out off the bat of Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro. The Marlins failed to score in the top of the ninth in that game, sealing a 5-4 win for the Rays.
Chisholm didn’t get any playing time on Saturday and then got the first hit of his MLB career on Sunday.
With the weekend series loss to the Rays, the Marlins dropped to a 17-18 win/loss record, but are still in position for a playoff spot in the National League of MLB. They trail the Atlanta Braves (24-16) by four and a half games in the National League East Division, and are a game and a half behind the Philadelphia Phillies (19-17) for the second wild card spot in the National League playoff race.
The Marlins travel to Atlanta to play the Braves in a three-game set starting today and will then head back home to host the Phillies in a five-game series this weekend.