These are truly the dog days of summer. Baseball has slipped into that surreal midseason phase where absolutely nothing seems to matter at any given moment, and the reason to watch is to doze off to the hypnotic lull of half innings breezing by uneventfully. We have hit the part of the year where even the oddity of a position player taking the mound is less a delightful reminder of baseball’s strangeness, and is more another marker of the baseball season’s insane grind. Oh, another team ran out of pitchers? Golly, those poor sons of bitches.
But we’re not quite at the point where it isn’t still sort of fun. Infielder Alex Blandino took the mound Wednesday night for the Reds, to work the bottom of the eighth inning of what would wrap up as a 19-4 Indians blowout victory. Blandino is a 25-year-old rookie, and he’s played five different positions in the field this season, but this was his first career appearance as a pitcher. It went great! Blandino faced Francisco Lindor, Brandon Guyer, Erik González, and Roberto Perez, and apart from a lousy single by González, Blandino kicked major butt, keeping the Indians scoreless and striking out two (2) batters. He even got Guyer on just three pitches, including this wonderful 67-mile-per-hour knuckler for a swinging strike three:
Blandino’s big inning wasn’t even the only position player pitching appearance of the night. The Rockies blew the doors off the Diamondbacks Wednesday night, 19-2, and two D-backs position players—Daniel Descalso and Alex Avila—combined for a shocking 4.2 innings of relief work. Descalso was knocked around for three runs on four hits and a walk in 2.2 innings, but he did record a strikeout of his own, against Gerardo Parra, on a diving 68-mph, um, slowball:
Avila allowed just one hit in his two innings of work, but recorded zero strikeouts, a sad failure to live the moment to its fullest. Ah well.