Nate breaks Oriole bats; Pudge breaks self


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Definitely a day of breakage all ’round.

In case you didn’t get to see the game, one of the weirder, “well what can you do except shrug?”-type defensive plays came when Nate threw a pitch that absolutely shattered Nick Markakis’ bat, to the point where a good-sized shard of it came flying up and chased Casey away from first base… so when the ball came back to first, what should have been an out resulted in a hit for Markakis.

We were robbed of an out because our first baseman was fleeing an airborne pointy scythe of wooden doom. Of course Nate managed to get us out of the inning OK, but the whole thing was just a bit absurd.

When he wasn’t breaking bats, Nate was pitching up a glorious pitching storm. It still surprises me sometimes when he pitches so well, even though it really shouldn’t. It’s so easy to forget that he “lost” a whole bunch of games last season through no real fault of his own.

Pudge, in a much less charming story, took a ricochet to the foot and went down for much longer than he normally would. He refused to leave the game because he’s a big macho manly man and/or he doesn’t trust Rabelo in such a low-scoring game. He was running and crouching a little gingerly but I think he’d have to be clinically dead before he’d take HIMSELF out of the game.

I don’t know if he’s gonna play tonight or not (no word from above so far as I’ve seen today), but I know that he’s going to WANT to… and I very much hope that Leyland tells him NOT to. He shouldn’t have even continued to play, giving his foot a chance to swell up and, who knows, explode inside his cleat or something. I want to see him in the dugout tonight with a big fleecy slipper on.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure I want to see Rabelo get his first significant Major League experience catching Verlander. Justin can be a little…. taxing on a catcher, what with the heavy fastball and the occasional wildness (especially with the cold weather everyone’s suffering from). Vance has always seemed to have a really good pitcher/catcher rapport with Verlander, and Pudge is Pudge. Rabelo is, I’m sure, a perfectly serviceable catcher…

I just realized that if Rabelo catches Verlander, the COMBINED AGE of our battery would be only 3 YEARS OLDER THAN JULIO FRANCO.

Let that percolate around your little head for a bit. That would be FREAKIN’ AWESOME, in a terrifying kind of way.

Oy. I’m not sure there’s a good answer to this one. Pudge will say that he’s fine, and may in fact BE fine, but given his age and our continued lack of Vance Wilson, I would really, REALLY rather not let his bulldog work ethic get in front of his overall health. I don’t want Rabelo to be traumatized by Verlander, though. BASICALLY I JUST WANT US ALL TO HOLD HANDS AND DANCE WITH KITTENS AND NOT HAVE ALL THESE PEOPLE GETTING BROKEN AND PERSISTING IN THEIR BROKENNESS.

I’m also not happy that Neifi!!! got into the game yesterday, because I resent him on principle, and for the simple fact that he is not Brandon Inge. Although now that I think of it, Inge is probably having this slow start specifically so that Neifi!!! can get some at-bats now, before the season has a chance to really rev up and he can do some actual damage to the team. Good job, Brandon. Always thinking of the larger picture.

I’m definitely going to keep thinking of excuses for Brandon Inge until he starts producing, by the way. So we had all better hope he gets his act together right quick, because the places my mind will go when allowed to run free in this fashion are not places that any of you marginally sane folk want to have to witness.

7 responses to “Nate breaks Oriole bats; Pudge breaks self

  1. I tell you one thing. That broken bat liner to first made Sean Casey’s eye grow bigger than his head.
    I was sitting on the 3rd base side looking straight down the 1st base line and I could see Casey’s eye pop out of his head from my seats. He was sure he was going to die.
    I’m not really sure why Pudge was left in the game. The ball came hard off the bat right onto his foot, unprotected by the shin gaurd that was off to the side. Not sure why you’d risk injury to a starter in April like that. But hey, you won the ALCS last year so you must know what you’re doing.
    Jaret Wright was the shock of the night. I never thought he’d hang with your line up.
    Unfortunately though I’m now really motivated to predict an Oriole win with a much better pitching Adam Loewen on the mound for us.
    I will say that Tigers fans travel well. Good showing by you guys in Baltimore last night.

  2. Not surprised re: Casey and the bat (hee); that thing was travelling like a bloody javelin.
    And Pudge was left in the game because he insisted upon it. I think it was still a scoreless tie at that point, right? Leyland’s not going to want to take Pudge’s bat out and replace it with Rabelo if he can help it, not in that situation, and with Pudge insisting that he’s OK to go…

  3. I hate to point this out, but one wonders how much younger than Julio Franco some of those Marlins batteries c 2006 were… Say, Josh Willingham catching and Anibal Sanchez pitching. Ummm… Wait, that’s 27 and 22… Whereas Rabelo and Verlander are 26 and 23, if I’m doing my math right… So, 6 of one, half-dozen of the other… Oh, here’s one… Francisco Liriano and Joe Mauer last year would have been 22 and 23. That’s the youngest battery I can think of… No, wait, Jeremy Bonderman and Brandon Inge would have been 20 and 25 back in ’03… Tried to go with the extreme example of Joe Nuxhall pitching at the age of 15, but his likely catcher would have been Ray Mueller, who was 32 at the time…

  4. Isn’t that all kinda terrifying? I guess it’s more a measure of how old Franco is than how young the batteries are, but STILL!

  5. Just a quick heads-up from the Marlins fan: Josh Willingham has never caught a regular season game and hasn’t caught at at all for Anibal Sanchez.
    That is all.

  6. baseball-reference.com begs to differ on the Willingham matter:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/willijo03.shtml
    And besides, Anibal Sanchez was joined by a couple of other Marlins pitchers of the same age last year.
    Or take this one: Oct. 1, 2005, Willingham catches Jason Vargas. Willingham age 26 at that time, Vargas 22.

  7. Alternatively, Johnny Bench catching Gary Nolan on August 29, 1967. He’s 4 months short of turning 20, and Nolan turned 19 in May. So, 19 plus 4 months and 2 days for Nolan, 19 plus 8 months plus 21 days for Bench. I get a total of 39 years, no months, and 23 days. That’s pretty dang low.

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