Well, it wasn’t that nervous. The Angels won 12-0. But things got tense in the end when Angels rookie Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter in his 11th big league start. And he did it while only knocking out two batters, which is odd indeed. Eleven But groundouts always helps. But in this day and age when nothing is happening, Detmers is a reminder of what democracy should look like when he includes all his outfield players.
And that might not have been the most unique thing that happened in the game!
It used to be that teams would put a positioner on the mound for fun, to break the monotony of an endless regular season. You’re getting your butt kicked in July and your players are wondering if the season will actually ever end? Lift the spirits by throwing your outfielder on the mound and letting him show off the game-changing pitches he’s been looking forward to every day for the past three years. Suddenly, not everyone feels so bad about a wasted night in Phoenix (they’re all wasted nights in Phoenix, but let’s face it). And when someone hits the ball 500 feet away from them, that’s just another thing to laugh about for the next few days or weeks, and again lightens the load of baseball’s mundane nature.
Now? It’s an actual strategy. Because oh-so-valuable helpers—remember, these are guys who throw sixty pitches a week at best—need to be protected to the point where it’s impossible to waste them on a blowout. That’s right, the guy the team is happy to send down in a week to be replaced by another who looks so much like him that the manager definitely won’t be able to tell the difference must be prevented from working in a blowout game so they can delay his Tommy John surgery, which he’s going to have anyway, by another five minutes.
At least some managers make this phenomenon the farce it deserves. So, if your star player wants to hit with his left hand even though he’s been right-handed his entire career, fuck it. You’ve earned the right when you face a positional player on the mound. Step up, Anthony Rendon:
The Rays brought Brett Phillips to the mound to spare a faceless helper the stress of having to throw 15 pitches in a game where the Angels would be anxious to end at-bat to get Detmers back on the mound with minimal effort bring. So the Angels let Rendon hit with his left hand for the first time in his career. And he showed everyone how silly it all is by hitting a homer.
If a positioner on the mound isn’t going to be a rare sight anymore and something that’s going to get us interested in weird late-night baseball, then let’s make sure something stupid and memorable happens along the way anyway. Maybe we can get a positional player to try to throw between their legs, or someone homer simsPons bat on the plate or something like that.