BEYOND THE BOX SCORE By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

POSITIONALLY INCORRECT

The Baltimore Orioles have already used three position players to pitch this season – the latest was catcher Jesus Sucre, who was pressed into service by manager Brandon Hyde during a 12-2 blowout administered by the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Sucre handled the situation by retiring the Sox in order in the ninth inning. Hyde has also used first baseman/DH Chris Davis against Minnesota Twins in the second game of a doubleheader to finish the game on April 20 and infielder Hanser Alberto against the New York Yankees to close out the game on April 7. The Arizona Diamondbacks have faced three position players as pitchers, but are batting just .182 (2-for-11) with one home run. Catcher John Ryan Murphy of the Diamondbacks is the only position player to throw more than an inning when he was needed to throw two against the Dodgers on March 30. Murphy responded with the worst outing of any of the non-pitchers by giving up eight hits, seven runs and two gopher balls while facing 17 batters during his stint on the mound. On Thursday night catcher Jeff Mathis was used by Texas Ranger manager Chris Woodward to save the bullpen by finishing out the Mariners 14-2 pounding of the team. The 11 position players to toe the rubber this season (through Thursday; * previously used as a pitcher):

Player Date Team/Opp Score IP-H-ER-BB-SO-HR-ERA
John Ryan Murphy 3/30 D’backs/Dodgers 5-18 2-8-7-3-0-2-31.50
Russell Martin 3/30 Dodgers/D’backs 18-5 1-0-0-0-0-0-0.00
Eduardo Nunez 4/5 Red Sox-D’backs 8-15 1-1-1-0-0-1-9.00
Hanser Alberto 4/7 Orioles/Yankees 3-15 1-1-2-2-1-18.00
Aaron Altherr 4/10 Phillies/Nationals 1-15 1-2-1-0-2-0-9.00
Chris Davis* 4/20\ Orioles/Twins 7-16 1-2-1-0-1-1-9.00
Kendrys Morales* 4-20 A’s/Jays 1-10 1-1-1-2-0-0-9.00
Kevin Plawecki* 4/21 Indians/Braves 5-11 1-0-0-0–0-0.00
Jesus Sucre* 4/22 Orioles/White Sox 2-12\ 1-0-0-0-0-0-0.00
JB Shuck* 4/22 Pirates/D’backs 4-12 1-1-0-1-0-0-0.00
Jeff Mathis* 4/25 Rangers/Mariners 2-14 1-1-0-0-1-0.00

For more on this: https://billy-ball.com/2019/04/the-10-position-players-who-have-pitched-this-season/

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

When the San Diego Padres recalled Robbie Erlin, he had to utter a sigh of relief. The reliever had been optioned to Lake Elsinore of the Class A California League to make room for a spot starter the big club needed. And since he couldn’t return from the minors per MLB rules for the 10 days, Erlin made the daily commute from his apartment across the street from the Padres’ ballpark, Petco Park, to the dusty little town, located 75 miles away. Erlin, during his stay with Lake Elsinore, saw action in three games – striking out six and giving up two runs. On the days he pitched he stayed in the town, but the other seven days of his time at Class A he made the daily, 150-mile, round-trip commute.

AROUND THE HORN

Chris Stratton joined Stew Cliburn (1984-85, 1988) as the only pitchers to pitch for the Angels that were born in Mississippi; the last position player from “The Magnolia State” to play for the team was outfielder Barry Wesson (2003).

… The Tigers and Marlins are the only remaining teams that haven’t had a bat-around inning this season; the A’s sent 11-batters to the plate and scored six runs in the fourth inning against the Rangers on Tuesday night in the 11-5 win.

Francisco Lindor, age 25, appears certain to become the fifth youngest Indians’ player to register 100 career home runs on April 21, when he hit number 99, the shortstop’s birthday is November 14, 1993; Hal Trosky holds the Indians’ record having reached the century mark at 23 years and 305 days of age in 1936.

… Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan not only raises beef, but his company, Nolan Ryan Beef, makes hotdogs; the Astros began this season by selling Ryan’s dogs for $1.00 every Tuesday for their season-long promotion – “Hot Dog Night.”

… The Nationals, so far this season, have found an affinity for .500 ball, they have posted records of (3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10 and 11-11) and after losing to the Rockies on Wednesday will attempt to once again to even their record on Friday at 12-12.

… Overlooked in most of the box scores from April 19 was the fact that there was the first numerical zero matchup in major league history when the Yankees’ reliever Adam Ottavino faced the Royals Terrance Gore in the seventh inning; the Yankees “0” got the better of Royals “0” when he struck him out looking.

… When the Tigers swept the Red Sox in a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday it marked the first time that the Tigers had beaten the Sox twice in one day at Fenway Park since August 20, 1965.

Charlie Blackmon became the first player since Jerome Walton to hit a first-pitch leadoff home run the day after hitting a first-pitch, walk-off homer; the Rockies’ right fielder connected on April 18-19, while Walton accomplished the trick for the Reds on May 6-7, 1995.

… On April 19, Joc Pederson of the Dodgers joined Joe Morgan (September 19, 1963) and Kirk Gibson (May 25, 1995) as the only players to record two home runs and four hits on their own birthdays.

… Virtual unknown David Bote of the Cubs has joined Alex Bregman of the Astros and Wilmer Flores of the Diamondbacks as the only players since 2018 to post at least four plate appearances in walk-off situations; Bote is 1-for-4 with a game-ending single, while Bergman is 3-for-4 with a single, a double, a homer with five RBIs and Flores is 0-for-4.

… The Angels lead the majors with the lowest strikeout percentage of 16.0, while their walk percentage of 9.9 is ninth; their walk-to-strikeout ratio is first in the bigs at 61.2 percent.

Elvis Luciano of the Blue Jays is the first major-leaguer to be born in 2000. The pitcher was born February 15.

Dylan Floro (Dodgers – 10.2 IP), Mark Melancon (Giants – 10.2), Felipe Vazquez (Pirates – 10.2) and Adam Morgan (Phillies – 10.1) are the only remaining pitchers who have thrown at least 10 innings but still have an 0.00 ERA this season.

… On April 21, Clayton Kershaw passed Don Drysdale for second most Dodger strikeouts since the team moved to L.A. in 1958, when he whiffed his 2,284th victim (Lorenzo Cain in bottom of 3rd inning); Don Sutton holds the L.A. record having K’d 2,696 batters between 1966-80 and 1988.

… Through Thursday’s games, the Giants lead the majors with 25 defensive runs saved; the Rays are second and have saved 20.

… The Nationals are 1-7 in series-opening games.

… Through Thursday, the Reds lead the majors for most losses when they are homerless (1-8) while the A’s lead the A.L. (0-7).

Luke Bard joined Steve Delabar (Blue Jays – 2012, 10th), Mike Bosinger (Blue Jays – 2017, 13th), Miguel Diaz (Padres – 2018, 11th) as the only pitchers to strike out four batters in an extra inning of a game; Bard’s feat is the latest inning a pitcher has accomplished the rarity when the Angel pitcher did it against the Yankees in the 14th inning on Monday night in Anaheim and was tagged with the 4-3 loss.

CC Sabathia inched closed to the coveted 3,000-career strikeout mark when he fanned three Angel batters on Wednesday; the Yankee is now just three strikeouts shy of becoming the 17th major-league pitcher to record 3K.

… Twins utility man Willians “La Tortuga” (The Turtle) Astudillo added another position to his growing resume of positions played when he took over in right field on April 20 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Twins, leaving shortstop as the only position off his list; through Thursday games, Astudillo has played 21 games at catcher, nine at third base, four at first base, two at second base, two in left field, two in right field (he started Wednesday’s game at the position), one in center field and one as a pitcher.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score

Edited by Rick Wacha

Copyright 2019, Sports Features Group