With a depleted bullpen in Sunday’s 16-inning showdown against the Padres, the Diamondbacks turned to backup catcher Jeff Mathis to pitch in a tie game. Seeing a position player pitch is always fun—hey, they’re not supposed to do that!—but it’s not often that they actually determine the outcome of the game. Although Mathis earned the first two outs (and even caught Carlos Asuaje looking), he also gave up a monster dong to Padres outfielder Wil Myers.
After Wil Myers worked a 2-2 count, Mathis threw one in the dirt, a pitch that Myers thought was ball four, prompting him to jog towards first. That would’ve been the preferred outcome for the D-backs, because Myers sent the next pitch, an 87 mph meatball, over the right-center field porch. The blast was the deciding run in San Diego’s 4-3 win.
Mathis was tagged for the loss, the first in his career. He had actually made two previous appearances in relief in his career, both in 2012, but those were in garbage time—this particular one was in a pretty high-leverage situation. It was a taxing game for Mathis, as he’d also caught the first 15 innings for his team. If the D-backs had tied the ballgame in the bottom half, manager Torey Lovullo said Mathis would’ve come out for the 17th too. Had the game gone to an 18th inning, Mathis would’ve been swapped with the catcher who subbed in for him, Alex Avila.
Myers did his best to compliment Mathis on doing something he shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
For his effort, Jeff Mathis joins the illustrious company of Darwin Barney and Darnell McDonald and makes his mark in the history books.