An Orioles position player pulled off a historic save by serving up 54-mph meatballs against the Angels
If the MLB's Cut4 Twitter account had its way, position players would pitch every night. Fortunately for them, it's happened quite a bit in 2019, much to the chagrin of many managers. It's a situation no team wants to be in, because it almost always means you're getting blasted by the opponent, and rather than waste an actual bullpen arm with your team down by 10 runs, you might as well trot a position guy out there and hope he gets a few outs.
On very rare occasions, though, a team could be in the lead and a position player pitching is that team's only option. This was the case on Thursday night for Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, who had no actual pitcher to turn to with his team up, 10-8, in the bottom of the 16th against the L.A. Angels. After using all eight bullpen arms and one of his starters, Hyde brought in utility man Stevie Wilkerson, who had made two appearances on the hill already this season. Wilkerson had previously pitched three innings in total, striking out a batter and giving up only one run on two hits. Pretty damn good for a position player.
Those stats look even better when you see how Wilkerson actually pitches. The right-hander throws 54-mile-per-hour meatballs right over the center of the plate, and on Thursday night, it worked! Wilkerson got the Angels to go three up, three down, giving him the save. Oh, and by the way, one of the batters he faced was Albert Pujols, who is only one of the top-10 hitters in the history of the sport:
Incredible. These guys can't touch Stevie! I'd imagine it's tough waiting on these slow-pitch softball-esque hangers after facing heaters and junk all night, but c'mon, you're still in the MLB. You should be able to tee off on one of these, no? Guess not. Wilkerson's save proved to be historic, as it was the first to be recorded by a position player since saves became a statistic in 1969. He's now made three appearances and has an ERA of 2.25, giving up two hits in four innings pitched. The Boston Red Sox would kill for that kind of production from somebody in their pen.