Two on, none out for the Mariners in the bottom of the second inning Friday against the Rangers. Jesus Sucre, making his first major league start, his a grounder to first that appeared to be turned into a 3-6-3 double play. Except…
The video isn’t embeddable yet, but it’s clear as day that pitcher Justin Grimm intercepted the return throw while first baseman Mitch Moreland was trying to get to it himself. First-base ump Jeff Nelson never noticed that it wasn’t Moreland who made the catch and gave the Rangers the out. To their “credit,” both Grimm and Moreland sold it well.
Brendan Ryan followed the blown call with an RBI double that tied the game at 2. The Mariners would have had another man on and one fewer out as they attempted to continue their rally. Alas, they went on to lose 9-5.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.