The position-player-as-pitcher trend continues piling up numbers at a record pace. Three more position players took the mound Friday night; the total across MLB is now up to 45, by far the most ever for a full season, and it’s still July. One of the recent unfortunate fellows was Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez, who came on in the eighth inning of a blowout loss to the Orioles.
Many of the position players who’ve pitched in 2018 have emerged unscathed; one or two of them have even looked pretty damn decent out there. Gomez pitched exactly how you’d expect someone who is not a pitcher to perform at that task, just a confused and twitchy and wild-eyed disaster:
In his third of an inning Gomez recorded four walks on 18 pitches. He recorded his one out on a fly to center. And he plated a runner from second base on consecutive balks. The Rays used two mound visits over the course of Gomez’s 21 total pitches. This almost certainly would’ve gone on for a very long time—just an absurd and hopeless string of walks and balks, until the anxiety and humiliation caused Gomez to melt into a puddle of frothy goo right there on the mound—had Rays manager Kevin Cash not mercifully pulled him after the fourth walk. Gomez was a very good sport about it, after the game:
Gomez’s replacement, catcher Jesús Sucre, gave up an RBI single and an RBI groundout before finally escaping the inning with a popout. The Rays lost, 15-5, and though five different players took the mound in the game, just three of them were pitchers. That’s the idea, I guess! Let bad baseball devolve all the way to a clown show, but spare the important arms along the way. This will not be the last lopsided Rays loss, which means Gomez might someday soon get the chance to redeem himself. CAN’T WAIT.