Mike Carp assumed mop-up duty in the ninth inning of the Yankees 14-5 rout of the Red Sox Thursday night at Fenway. On the plus side, Carp dusted off his knuckleball … and still managed to issue five walks since the Yankees’ organizational adherence to on-base percentage isn’t going to take a hit in the late innings of an April laugher. And, in fairness, Carp rarely came close to touching the strike zone.
Position players taking the mound is always amusing and provides some frivolity during the six-month baseball season, albeit it’s not as hilarious as Bartolo Colon stepping into the batter’s box every fifth day.
Carp’s brief (poor) Tim Wakefield impression got me thinking: who are the other position players we need to see toss an inning before October rolls around …
This needs to happen. Dunn is a free agent after the season and seems indifferent to baseball, at times, so he might up and retire. If he doesn’t toss an inning before his career is over it’ll be a disservice to all of America. Look at Dunn, he’s every stereotypical slow-pitch softball pitcher alive — or a 21st century reincarnation of late-career Cy Young.
It’s a shame we live in a era when nicknames in sports are an afterthought because Belt’s “Baby Giraffe” moniker is superb. Belt on the mound would be tremendous, a 6-foot-5 pile of gangly limbs and twisted torso with a long neck on top. [Update: as a comment pointed out, Belt pitched in college. An attempt at humor falls flat, again.]
Tulo’s arm from short is absurd in-and-of itself. He looks like he could actually bring the heat with a short-step/quick pitch delivery motion, slinging it to the catcher. Considering how many runs are scored at Coors Field it’s a surprise he hasn’t pitched yet. (Oh right, we’ll get to why not in a little bit.)
Kawasaki pitching an inning would probably be the most important thing to happen in Canada since Gordon Lightfoot was born.
Does Harper hustle? Is he too much of a gamer? Could he be too jacked up? It’ll never happen given his anointed status as a future star, and it would be too risky to put him on the mound even for a single pitch, but something tells me Harper would leap immediately at the opportunity to pitch in a blow-out. He’d probably try to throw as hard as possible — strikeouts are super macho, brah — potentially pulling a Jose Canseco, blowing out his arm in the process. This is the reason why the Mike Carps of the world assume mop-up duties, not “stars.”
Brett Gardner/Michael Brantley
I’m sure there are guys who look at more pitches per at bat, but these two only seem to swing the bat if the ball is exactly placed where they want it. Yes, this is a valuable, important asset in our on-base percentage driven data analysis world, but dammit if it isn’t infuriating to watch them when they’re hitting against your favorite team. It would be nice to get these two to see how the other half lives. [FWIW my "eye test" was off, Gardner is only 18th in pitches per at bat while Brantley doesn't crack the Top 40. Stupid numbers.]
If we all think Bartolo Colon on a baseball field is hilarious, a Molina brother would be even funnier, right? Hell, Quirky Joe Maddon is so unconventional he might reinvent the way positional players are used in routs, opting for his stocky, “250 pound” catcher instead of a random outfielder.