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Must-click link: the pitcher who could not swing but got a hit

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Almost everything Sam Miller of ESPN writes is entertaining and enlightening but this thing he wrote today about Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman is one of my favorites in a while.

Gsellman, you may or may not know, tore the labrum in his non-pitching shoulder last year. He could still pitch, but he could not swing a bat. Except he still went up to the plate 17 times in 2016, most of them before the world at large knew that he had a torn labrum and could not swing. Miller takes us through each and every one of his plate appearances like a forensic detective, trying to determine whether or not the opposition knew — or should have known — that Gsellman literally could not swing a bat.

The results are somewhat sobering. Not from a substantive baseball perspective, as even a healthy Gsellman was not likely to do much damage to the opposition or, frankly, to the Mets, no matter how wonderfully or poorly he hit. It’s more sobering with respect to just how cautious and observant the average human being is in this thing we call life.

Miller brings this point home after Gsellman combined with Jake Thompson and Ryan Howard of the Phillies in a play that led to Gsellman — the man who could not swing — getting his only hit of the year. It happened when each of them failed to do the most very basic things possible under the circumstances: (a) to take a pitch when you can’t swing a bat; (b) to throw a 3-0 strike to a guy who can’t swing; and (c) to field a bunt from a guy who was 100% likely to lay down a bunt:

Look. You have expectations when you walk out the door every morning. You expect basic competency: The chef at the restaurant knows the difference between cooking oil and bleach. You expect basic self-preservation: The guy driving in the opposite direction as you isn’t suicidal. You expect that cause and effect will follow predictable rules: The cashier will give you a handful of change, not a raccoon

You expect to turn on a baseball game and see two capable, self-interested teams. And you end up with a batter who can’t (and shouldn’t) swing a bat, a pitcher who can’t throw a strike and Ryan Howard standing 15 feet behind the bag. Mathematically speaking, all three of these men are better at their job than your doctor is. Cheers.

Hope your checkup went well today and the MRI was read properly.

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.