White Sox outfielder Casper Wells wasn’t the only position player who pitched last night. Dodgers’ utility player Skip Schumaker was called on to pitch the ninth inning in a 16-1 loss to the Phillies. And get this, he was the only Dodgers’ pitcher who didn’t give up a run. Of course he was.
Schumaker was naturally a bit shaky, as he allowed a double and walked two, but he struck out catcher Humberto Quintero swinging to work out of the bases-loaded jam. He topped out at nearly 92 mph on his fastball, according to Brooks Baseball. He had one get away on a high-and-inside pitch to outfielder John Mayberry, Jr., but as you’ll see in the video below, he immediately put his hands over his head and apologized multiple times.
This was actually Schumaker’s third career appearance as a pitcher. He tossed a scoreless inning against the Rockies back on April 29 of this year and gave up two runs in one inning of work against the Dodgers on August 23, 2011 when he was with the Cardinals.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.