Ian Desmond thought he had an inside-the-park homer as he raced around the bases in the fifth inning against the Braves on Friday. Justin Upton thought it was a double. After replay overturned the initial call, it was Upton who got his way.
Here’s the play:
Desmond’s grounder down the third base line and to the wall in left field stuck under the padding at Nationals Park, causing Upton to do the smart thing and throw up his hands for the double. The umpiring crew, though, never gave him the deadball sign, and third base ump Marvin Hudson showed no sign of coming out to get a better look at the ball. With no call forthcoming, Upton finally picked up the ball and threw it back to the infield, though at that point, it was too late to stop Desmond from making his way home.
The Braves challenged the call at that point, arguing that the ball was lodged under the padding in left. Whether that’s actually a reviewable call or not is unclear, but the umps did go approve the replay and then overturned their original call, putting Desmond back at second base.
The overturn certainly seemed like the right call. While the ball wasn’t truly “stuck,” as Upton showed by how easy he grabbed it, it was lodged in between the ground and the padding, which unfortunately comes to a stop about a ball’s width from the ground. Upton did the smart thing, at least until he went and eventually grabbed it and left no proof of the ball’s placement for Hudson to examine.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.