Washington Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson was not as sharp as a tack today — he walked four guys — but he had no-hitter going against the Chicago Cubs through the first five and two-thirds innings of this afternoon’s contest. And then he was lifted for a reliever.
It’s not hard to blame Nats manager Dave Martinez for taking him out. He managed two outs in the inning but he also walked the bases loaded, with the last hitter he faced — Ben Zobrist — walking on four straight pitches. Hellickson either lost the strike zone or lost confidence in his stuff. Either way, he was at 89 pitches, so the thing was not gonna happen anyway.
When he was lifted, the Nats were up 2-0. Then Sammy Solis came in to face Jason Heyward who promptly knocked in two with a solid single for the Cubs’ first hit of the game. It’s now tied up at two.
Life comes at you fast.
Triple plays are rare. Triple plays in which only two players touch the ball are even more rare. But last night the Texas Rangers turned a triple play that was even more rare than that. Indeed, it was the sort of triple play that had not been turned since a couple of months after the Titanic sank.
Here’s how it went down:
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth inning, David Fletcher of the Angels hit a sharp one-hopper, fielded by third baseman Jurickson Profar. He stepped on third, getting the runner on second base in a force out. He then quickly tagged Taylor Ward, who had been on third base but had broken, thinking the ball was going to get through, and who froze before figuring out what to do. Profar then threw to Rougned Odor, who stepped on second to force the runner out who had been on first. Watch:
Like a lot of weird triple plays, not everyone was sure what had happened immediately. Odor, for example, had already made the third out when he touched the bag but he still attempted to tag out the runner from first, likely not yet having processed it all. The announcer wasn’t aware of it either. Understandable given how fast it all happened. It took me a couple of times watching it to figure it all out.
The historic part of it: according to STATS, Inc., it was the first triple play in 106 years in which the batter was not retired. The last time it happened: June 3, 1912, turned by the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Cincinnati Reds.