Friday featured some pretty cool moments, from Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s best impression of Neo from The Matrix to Hunter Renfroe’s acrobatic leap and catch, to a mascot doing its chores. Let’s take a look at those and other moments from yesterday’s games.
David Fletcher Reaches for the Sky
Take a look at this photo and tell me if anything stands out to you.
That green dot is not a glitch.
David Fletcher led off the top of the fifth inning against Mike Fiers, and the count quickly got to 1-2. For the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Sean Murphy located his glove on the bottom outside corner of the zone, but Fiers missed his spot and threw a fastball way above the zone. Normally, that isn’t a bad miss as nobody in their right mind should swing at a pitch above their head.
Apparently Fletcher is insane.
This is literally at the top of his head.
Brian Goodwin is shocked that he hit that pitch.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) August 22, 2020
Shohei Ohtani can’t believe it either.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) August 22, 2020
If Fletcher had swung and missed at that point, he would be criticized for chasing something so far out of the zone. But we should’ve realized that this was a bad pitch for Fiers to throw to Fletcher. Just look at his career zone profile by batting average:
Before Friday’s game, Fletcher’s batting average on pitches above the strike zone (.295) was better than his overall career rate (.287). Basically, he hits anything he swings at.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Tries to Enter the Matrix
With two outs and runners on second and third, Randal Grichuk chopped a soft infield floater to Brandon Lowe, who played it on the bounce and tried getting the out at first. After Grichuk was called safe, Ji-Man Choi turned toward home only to realize that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was trying to score from second on an infield single. Choi’s throw easily beat Gurriel Jr. to home, but then Neo reincarnate made an appearance.
I haven’t seen such acrobatics like those displayed at home plate since Ichiro tangoed with Matt Weiters or when Chris Coghlan literally flew over Yadier Molina.
What’s just as incredible as the slide itself is that Michael Pérez was able to overcome Gurriel Jr.’s absolute control of the Matrix as Pérez barely nicked Gurriel Jr.’s left hand with the tip of his glove—the call was overturned for an out!
A valiant effort from Gurriel Jr., but he needs more training before he can become “The One” to take on Agent Smith.
Schoop Sends Shot Skyward, Scares Santana
Jonathan Schoop put his power on display with a bomb off of Adam Plutko’s hanging breaking ball in the fourth inning.
This wasn’t any regular monster dong. This was a straight-up moonshot heading toward Lake Erie. It literally went out of Progressive Field.
It must’ve appeared as though this ball sailed off into the setting sun, as Domingo Santana lost track of it and had to cover his head in case it suddenly plummeted back to earth.
This homer broke Statcast, so we can’t yet confirm just how long it traveled. But the last time that I remember a ball being hit out of Progressive Field was when Jim Thome absolutely clobbered one 511 feet over the fence in dead center.
Hunter Renfroe Avoids Injury by Launching Himself Into the Stands
Hunter Renfroe majored in kinesiology, so it’s fair to say he has an understanding of how much it will hurt if he runs knee first into a barely-padded concrete wall at full speed. I think we all do, but Renfroe has the education to back it up. This situation almost became his reality in the top of the ninth in a tied 4-4 game when Vlad Guerrero Jr. sliced a ball way down the right field line.
Not only did he pull off a beautiful catch to keep the bases empty in a very close game, but he followed it up with an Olympic-caliber long jump, too.
“Heads-Up” or “Heads-Down” Baserunning?
As is the case with every baseball season, there are a fair share of blunders on the basepaths, or TOOTBLANs as they are more colorfully known. However, Phil Gosselin showcased an example of some strong baseball IQ in the fourth inning of yesterday’s game between the Phillies and Braves.
After Gosselin walked to lead off the inning, Didi Gregorius struck out, bringing the rookie Alec Bohm to bat. With the count at 3-2, Bohm grounded a ball to second baseman Johan Camargo, which looked like an easy double play. But Gosselin prevented this by dropping straight to the ground.
This “heads-down” play meant that the Braves only got one out, keeping the inning alive. Unfortunately, the next batter struck out. It was a valiant effort by Gosselin nonetheless.
Meet the New Iron
Move over Lou Gehrig, and get ready Westeros, there’s a new animal in town ready to claim the “Iron Throne.” This is your worst nightmare:
The lack of fans in the stands means that every mascot is coping with this pandemic differently. It looks like Fredbird has found peace by quarantining himself in the empty outfield seats, doing his laundry in Big Mac Land. That was a really weird sentence to type. But hey, it is 2020 after all.
Alex, these are some really neat plays and highlights. Thanks for bringing them to our attention!
Thank you, Larry!
This whole article is a gem that I look forward to every day so thank you. And please keep us all up to date on the mascots :)