Braves reliever Chris Martin had the adventure of a lifetime, tossing an immaculate inning — a 1-2-3 inning with three strikeouts on nine pitches — in the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies. The right-hander was an army of one, fanning César Hernández, Jay Bruce, and Logan Morrison to send the game to the eighth.
Martin knows that everything’s not lost, as he entered the game with a 5.40 ERA in 13 1/3 innings since being acquired by the Braves from the Rangers on July 30. It was a hopeful transmission by the Braves, who also bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Shane Greene and Mark Melancon ahead of the trade deadline.
Martin’s immaculate inning is the seventh of the 2019 season, joining Josh Hader, Thomas Pannone, Chris Sale (twice), Stephen Strasburg, and Kevin Gausman. There have been 99 known total immaculate innings in baseball history by 91 different pitchers. It’s an achievement that has the hitters believing the pitches are coming in at the speed of sound.
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.