Wednesday’s slate of action gave us all we could ask for and more from a day of baseball: a pity triple play, a twinkletoes home run, and somebody – who even knows who – playing left field for the Rockies.
But first, the spirit of Jacoby Ellsbury inhabits both the Judge and the Hammer…
Yankees Catch Pedro Severino with His Hand in the Cookie Jar…Twice!
When the Washington Nationals committed to their veteran catching tandem of Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes, it meant designating Pedro Severino for assignment. They exposed the Dominican catcher to waiver and the Orioles pounced. Baltimore came away pleasantly surprised as the live-armed catcher established himself as a viable big-league backstop. The 26-year-old posted a triple slash of .249/.321/.420 across 96 games in 2019.
When it comes to the defensive end, well, suffice it to say that Severino could use some refinement. Here he is playing catcher like it’s a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
Orioles catcher Pedro Severino has been charged with catcher's interference twice in the first four batters of this game. He's shaken up on this one, after making contact with Giancarlo Stanton's swing.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) July 29, 2020
Two batters later…
Maybe these weren’t Severino’s fault. Maybe the all-time CI king Jacoby Ellsbury taught Judge and Stanton a thing or two about drawing interference calls before disappearing backstage. Or maybe this was the Orioles’ employing a Hack-a-Shaq style strategy to keep the vaunted Towers of Power from doing what they do best. Maybe Severino just wanted to catch the ball so badly he couldn’t help himself.
What we do know is this: if Severino doesn’t learn some patience one of these days, he’s liable to lose a hand.
Kris Bryant Turns a Triple Play, and David Bell Says, “Oh, Let ‘Em Have It”
Trailing the Reds 12-5 in the 7th inning, Kris Bryant got the Cubs out of a bases-loaded jam by starting a 5-3 triple play.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2020
Or did he?
Reds manager David Bell contested the call briefly, but his heart wasn’t in it. Ultimately, he picked up his challenge flag and let this one go. Bell’s temperance prompts a simple but vexing query: But why?
Not sure why the play wasn't reviewed. Ball bounced before it went into Bryant's glove. David Bell talked to the umpires for a couple minutes, then Reds took the field. https://t.co/O9heBGWz5H
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) July 30, 2020
The Reds were cruising in this game, and the suggestion was made that Bell chose not to challenge the call because they were so far ahead. If true, that would be a shame. Triple plays are some of the coolest plays in baseball, and Bryant could use some positivity after struggling to start the year.
But for Bell to gift the Cubs with a triple play out of pity? Or some misguided adherence to some unwritten rule? I don’t buy it. For a manager to surrender a whole inning rather than let his guys rack up some counting stats in a shortened-year, that would be truly pitiable.
Still, this is We Love Baseball: this is a safe space for conspiracy theorists. It’s wayyyy more fun to indulge the “pity triple play” theory than to think that whoever was manning the Reds’ video station mailed this one in.
Regardless, Bryant was pleased.
A Groundswell of Support Crews Up In Cincinnati
While his manager was busy giving away outs, Joey Votto was giving away maracas and party horns. Votto has languished for years on subpar Reds’ teams – he knows the burden of carrying a team on his own. But he’s not alone any longer.
Get you a first baseman who buys noisemakers for the whole grounds crew. pic.twitter.com/YsBOrFc4h2
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 30, 2020
Votto can appreciate an organization that’s more than just the players on the field. The Cubs may have the rooftop crowds supporting them at Wrigley Field, but with the help of Votto, the Reds now have the loudest grounds crew in baseball.
It’s a good man who can rely on the help of his teammates.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back For Mets’ Rookie
New York Mets rookie shortstop Andres Gimenez got his first big-league start on Wednesday, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. To start, the glove-first shortstop notched his first career hit with a single in the second inning.
Always a cool moment. Just look at that smile!
That’s a happy boy. But he flew a little too close to the sun. Two pitches later, this happened:
But fear not ye of little faith, baseball is a sport of redemption! Gimenez would get earn his bit of unvarnished baseball joy. In the sixth inning, he the Mets up 3-2 with a go-ahead RBI triple.
Of course, this is the Mets we’re talking about, and they went on to lose the game 6-5. In sum: a big step forward for Gimenez, and a small step back for the Mets.
Twinkletoes Creating Ever New Ways To Measure A Blast
Checking in on Ohtanivision, the game’s best two-way player reminded us on Wednesday that nobody hits home runs quite with the grace of Shohei. Behold: Ohtani’s trademark twinkletoes home run.
Pretty amazing he was able to hit this one out with that pitch location. https://t.co/BS7zDstoEd
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) July 30, 2020
Whatever this is worth: there are a lot of ways to quantify home runs these days (exit velocity, launch angle, distance), but this one happens to be the second-lowest pitch taken yard so far in this young season.
That’s all well and good, but it’s Mr. Ohtani’s footwork that really deserves a second look.
It’s amazing he’s able to keep his balance, let alone sock a baseball 402 feet into the distance.
While we’re re-thinking things, I’m exhausted with exit velocity. Tell me the angle of the foot arch. Give me the percentage of total feet touching earth. And let’s put together some kind of dopeness score already, right? We don’t need numbers to tell us that Ohtani hits home runs with more style than any active player on the planet (we miss you, Joey Bats!) – but it couldn’t hurt.
Owings, Hilliard, Hampson: Who Can Even Keep Track Anymore?
Returning from a commercial break in the top of the eighth inning, the ESPN broadcast of the Rockies 5-1 win over the Athletics replayed the final out of the 7th. Broadcaster Karl Ravech tries his best to provide the play-by-play, running through most of the Rockies bench before properly identifying the active left fielder.
My apologies, that wasn’t Karl Ravech…er, it was Jessica Mendoza…or, wait, shoot…that’s my bad – I can do this – it was Matt Vasgersian. Or Rick Sutcliffe? No, that was definitely Vasgersian charmingly fumbling his way through the return from commercial break. It was Garret Hampson in left field.
No shade to Vasgersian, because there’s going to be an ongoing learning curve when it comes to MLB rosters in 2020. Not to make light of a truly horrifying situation, but positive coronavirus tests have already prompted a number of last-minute scratches across the MLB landscape, and the Marlins are preparing for a full-on line change after being hit with the season’s first COVID-19 outbreak.
Point being, casual fans like Vasgersian (okay, that was a dig) won’t recognize many of the players this season. But whoever that player is out there, here at Pitcher List, we’ll be glued to the screen because – say it with me now – we love baseball.