As is often the case when a game goes 15 innings (or longer), some weird lineup decisions have to be made. For the Phillies, that meant putting starting pitcher Vince Velasquez in the left field corner while outfielder Roman Quinn took the mound in the late stages of Friday’s 4-3 loss to the White Sox.
Both players managed to keep the game tied in the 14th. Quinn kicked off the inning with a five-pitch walk to José Abreu, then induced a line out from Eloy Jiménez for the first out. In the next at-bat, James McCann roped a single out to left, giving Velasquez the opportunity to make a throw to home plate as Abreu attempted to steal a go-ahead run.
According to MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, Velasquez’s throw registered a cool 94.7-m.p.h., allowing catcher J.T. Realmuto plenty of time to nab the runner and preserve the tie.
Velasquez’s outfield heroics continued into the 15th and final inning. He attempted another lightning throw to prevent Leury Garcia from plating the winning run, but fell short as Garcia beat the tag by a split second. In the last play of the inning, Jiménez lofted a pitch out to left field, where Velasquez tumbled head over heels to rob the White Sox of a much-needed insurance run; per Simon, a move that had a 15% catch probability converted on a diving play. The damage had already been done, however, and the Phillies couldn’t get ahead of Josh Osich to close the gap in the bottom of the 15th.
With the loss, the Phillies dropped to a full seven games behind the NL East-leading Braves. They’ll send right-hander Aaron Nola to the mound in an attempt to even the series against the White Sox on Saturday at 7:05 PM EDT.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.