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Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Rays Played a Pitcher at Third Base

I’m fascinated by the creative player usage this year.

Venters left the game, and Romo returned to the mound. Adeiny Hechavarria came in to play shortstop. Romo survived his adventure, and he became just the ninth pitcher in recorded baseball history to both pitch and play third base in the same game. Or should I say eighth pitcher — Dick Selma did it twice in April 1970. But this hadn’t happened in the majors since August 6, 1971, when Bill Wilson temporarily played third so that Joe Hoerner could pitch to Willie Stargell. Wilson’s manager was Frank Lucchesi, and he put a pitcher at third base three times in two years. There’s been nothing since. Romo was the first in almost a half-century.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 26, 2018 at 03:22 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: playing the game the right way

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5716552)
What are the unwritten rules about bunting on a pitcher playing out of position?
   2. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:28 PM (#5716555)
Bird should have tried it, especially since they were shifting against him ... he'd already done it once in the game (bunted against the shift for a hit) and it would have been better than striking out against Venters ...
   3. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:28 PM (#5716557)
I’m gonna guess the hitter (Greg Bird) has hit approximately zero grounders to the third base side...that about right?

Fun move. I feel like the Rays are getting a lot more wins out of their personnel than they’d be getting with a conventional manager.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 26, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5716562)
It is fun, and it's great to see teams being creative like this. One thing the Fangraphs article doesn't mention, though, is that you have to burn a third baseman in order to make this move. In these times of very short benches, that's not a negligible consideration.
   5. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5716614)
rec'd
   6. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:22 PM (#5716616)
I agree with Tom, looking at box scores is a lot more interesting this year!
Here's another trend I've noticed, teams using two position players on the mound in a single game. I don't think we've seen as many position players pitching as this year, but I can think of at least 5-6 occasions where a team has used one fielder for the 8th and one for the 9th.
   7. Meatwad Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:25 PM (#5716618)
Cubs have done that twice in the last week.
   8. asinwreck Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:44 PM (#5716628)
I like the Rays' moxie.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:17 PM (#5716644)
Strongly recommend taking the five minutes to read the article, and look at the video clips and photos - very entertaining.
   10. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: July 27, 2018 at 06:54 AM (#5716686)
What are the unwritten rules about bunting on a pitcher playing out of position?
As TFA points out, pitchers have a lot of experience dealing with bunts. Romo would've started further back than he's used to and the angle would've been different, but he also would be set and not coming out of his pitching motion, and he certainly has the arm to make the throw.

It'd be hard to script a lower risk opportunity to try this stunt. I'm glad it worked out for the Rays.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: July 27, 2018 at 09:36 AM (#5716730)
It'd be hard to script a lower risk opportunity to try this stunt. I'm glad it worked out for the Rays.


That's what I was thinking. That's kind of the perfect time to do it.
   12. sotapop Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5716758)
I was watching this game, and after Romo returned to the mound, the next batter hit a high chopper right off the plate or the dirt. Romo came off the mound and made a nice sliding stop, whirled and then held the ball - it was too late to make a throw. (He probably should have left the 3B make the play, but...) So he seems to be pretty athletic out there; I'm guessing Cash knew that and was comfortable with him at 3B.

Edit: I just RTFA. There's a clip of the play near the end.
   13. sotapop Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5716765)
Also, in case you missed it, the Rays traded Venters to the Braves last night, getting an international signing slot, apparently. While I loved the comeback story, and that Venters has been solid for the Rays, it seems really cool that they're sending him back to where he had his glory days. I bet he gets a standing O on his first trip back to the mound in Atlanta.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5716767)
Rays depth chart at MLB.com still shows only one starting pitcher.
   15. sotapop Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5716792)
Yeah, I realized later that you were talking about real-time availability, my bad. Snell is DL'd with shoulder fatigue, team says no structural damage, uh-huh. But after Snell and Archer, you've got Faria (also DL'd), who might be a legit 3rd starter, and that's it.
   16. DL from MN Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5716794)
Having 13 pitchers on a roster means there will likely be pitchers that have to play the field. It does boggle the mind that a team with 13 pitchers on the roster would need two position players to pitch in a game.
   17. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: July 27, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5716861)
What are the unwritten rules about bunting on a pitcher playing out of position?


At least pitchers practice fielding bunts. That adds an extra layer of confidence in putting Romo at third.
   18. Swoboda is freedom Posted: July 27, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5717053)
I like the Rays' moxie.

And their mettle and pluck too.

They have spunk. I hate spunk

   19. OCF Posted: July 27, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5717064)
just the ninth pitcher in recorded baseball history to both pitch and play third base in the same game. ... There’s been nothing since [1971].

Hmmm: this seems to be treating "pitcher who moved to third base" as a different category than "third baseman who pitched." On another thread (recent enough that it may still be on the sidebar) we were talking about a 1989 game in which Jeff Hamilton played the first 20 innings at 3B, and then pitched the 21st and 22nd (with Eddie Murray at 3B and Fernando Valenzuela at 1B).

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