After a nailbiter of a loss on Friday, the Dodgers returned to their winning ways with an 18-5 lead heading into the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks. Wonderful things happen when a team is that confident of a win — by ‘wonderful things,’ we mean position players pitching — and this was no exception. With three outs to go and a comfortable 13-run lead to preserve, Los Angeles skipper Dave Roberts handed the ball to catcher Russell Martin.
Martin didn’t disappoint. He wielded eight pitches to induce back-to-back groundouts from Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed, and needed just two more to retire John Ryan Murphy on a long fly ball to center field.
Not too shabby for a full-time catcher whose last pitching appearance predated his professional career.
According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, Martin’s 1-2-3 ninth inning performance — and subsequent team win — was the first by a full-time position player since 1925. It was also the first time a position player had been tabbed to close out a win since left fielder Willie Smith did so for the Tigers in 1963.
While Roberts may not make a habit of turning to Martin for future pitching opportunities, it certainly made for an entertaining finish to the team’s dominant run on Saturday. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play their fourth and final game of the series at 4:10 PM EDT on Sunday, with right-handers Walker Buehler and Luke Weaver set to square off on the mound.