With the Rays leading the Nationals 1-0 in the 9th inning, Kevin Cash called upon relief pitcher Jose Alvarado to face slugger Bryce Harper. With Anthony Rendon coming up next, Chaz Roe was warming in the bullpen. However, Juan Soto and Daniel Murphy were due next so why waste Alvarado for one hitter?
Alvarado walked Harper, and out came Kevin Cash.
Then this happened:
Roe took the mound, Alvarado moved to first base, and Jake Bauers shifted over to left field. For a minute, the plan seemed to be in the process of working. Roe struck out Rendon, and the musical chairs continued once again.
Bauers took his spot back at first, Mallex Smith shifted to left, and Carlos Gomez entered the game in right field. Out went Roe.
Alvarado followed this up by allowing softly hit singles to both Juan Soto and Daniel Murphy. So, in a sense, the plan didn’t work. The bases were loaded for Sergio Romo who ended up getting the final outs, and that didn’t come without some fireworks.
The whole pitcher to first then back in the game idea has happened before, as we all know Joe Maddon is one of the guys who has done it in the past. It’s a particularly intriguing way to keep yourself from burning an arm, and quite literally playing the match-ups. Had the BABIP monsters not gotten in the way, I would’ve had a much better headline for this. But for now, enjoy the win and headache following that ninth inning.