The Dodgers' Best Reliever Is Their Backup Catcher

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Photo: Sean M. Haffey (Getty)

I regret to inform you that the Los Angeles Dodgers, a powerhouse that always seems to find new sources of talent whenever it needs, have a new shutdown reliever on their hands. He’s short, he’s Canadian, and he simply cannot be touched.

His name is Russell Martin, and though he is a catcher by trade, he has been used as a reliever four times this season. Those appearances have yielded four scoreless innings, two hits, no walks, two strikeouts, and 13 batters faced. Martin was brought on in the ninth inning last night to protect the Dodgers’ 9-0 lead over the Padres, and with his 0.00 ERA on the line he worked another scoreless inning.

Most position players who end up on the mound are happy to take half-hearted windups and toss 78-mph fastballs over the heart of the plate. Martin refuses to disrespect the game in such a fashion. When he gets on the mound, batters see a full windup and a heater that can reach 90 mph running in on their hands:


Sometimes he even throws a breaking ball that, I must say, puts Clayton Kershaw’s curveball to shame:


When Martin inevitably records the last out of Game 7 of the World Series, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching his teammates mob him on the mound.