Russell Martin
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Russell Martin’s pitching appearance was one for the history books

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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.

Mike Trout and Christian Yelich win the 2019 Hank Aaron Awards

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Major League Baseball announced today that Mike Trout and Christian Yelich have been selected as the American League and National League winners of the 2019 Hank Aaron Awards. The Hank Aaron Award, which was established in 1999, recognizes “the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.” A fan vote is part of it. A special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron weighs in as well.

Yellich, who is a back-to-back winner of the Award in the NL, led the Majors with a .671 slugging percentage and a 1.100 OPS, while leading the National League in batting average (.329), WAR (7.3) and OBP (.429). It was his third straight year with at least 100 runs scored and he set career-highs with 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He was the NL Player of the Week twice and stands a good chance of winning the NL MVP Award, though a late season injury will make it a pretty close vote.

Trout, who previously won the award in 2014, led the Majors with a .483 on-base percentage while leading the American League with a .645 slugging percentage and a 1.083 OPS. He was second in the AL with a career-best 45 home runs, was second i WAR (8.3) and, like Yelich, was a two-time Player of the Week winner. He too stands a good chance of wining the MVP though, he too, had a late season injury which could knock him down to second place.