Lonnie Chisenhall drove in two of the team's four runs with one swing of the bat yesterday. Before venturing into the breakdown, let's relive the moment together.
May the Chisenbat stay forever hot.
Taking it from the top: who does José Guillermo Quintana think he is throwing a first-pitch curveball? According to FanGraphs he currently throws the second best fastball in the game, per 100 pitches. I understand that it's a good idea to mix up your pitches — the tutorial in MLB the Show is kind enough to explain this — but Chisenswing is hyper-aggressive on fastballs this season with limited success. Why not a heater, up and in? Runners are in scoring position, there are two outs, and Chisenhall needs to keep producing in order to keep playing. Maybe if Quintana thought he could catch him chasing a bad pitch, I would feel differently. However, here's where the pitch crossed the plate:
This is not where curveballs belong. This is almost always going to result in the caption, "In play, run(s)". Quintana grooved it at 78 mph, and while his curveball isn't bad — it's rated as the 29th best in baseball, according to Fangraphs — I can't imagine that this is where he's made it work. Thanks though, José. Lonnie Chisenslapped it to right.
Now, on to Adam Eaton, who is really quite good at fielding baseballs most of the time. He is the third most valuable fielder in all of baseball this season if you ask FanrGaphs, and the most valuable if you ask Baseball-Reference*. Eaton appeared to be playing a shade toward center field. Sprinting toward the ball, he veers in awkwardly and loses some speed. I'm guessing it came off of the bat with a ton of topspin and did a nosedive on Eaton. Whatever happened, his altered route prevented him from closing the gap.
* In my mind, they're in the corner of a bar having a knock-down drag-out over the difference. Three empty pitchers sitting at the table, and "The Boys are Back in Town" is inexplicably playing for the third time.
The ball rolls all the way to the wall in front of the Miller Lite Bullpen Bar, where we meet one of the most baffling fans I've ever seen at a baseball game
If only there were SOME CONTRAPTION that would shield his head and neck from the sun, perhaps a short walk away in section 108. I'm sure if he did find SOME CONTRAPTION it would look wayyyyy sillier than a rolled up piece of neon green construction paper. The most shocking thing about this man is that he's still wearing a shirt in the 2nd inning.
Eaton avoids this glaring distraction, scoops the ball, and chucks it back toward the infield. It is too late. Juan Uribe scores, Yan Gomes scores, Lonnie Chisenstrolls into third base. Upon arrival, 3rd base coach Mike Sarbaugh lets Lonnie know that he is quite pleased with his success at the plate and hustle on the basepaths using a time-honored method of communication.
This is a different kind of Chisenslap.
Sarbaugh is shouting positive expletives here, but butt stuff can be more nuanced. During Mike Clevinger's last start, he sulked toward the dugout after surrendering a slew of runs. Yan Gomes caught up to him and lightly bumped him on the butt with his mitt. "You'll get 'em next time, kid."
Finally, we arrive at my favorite part of the clip: Mike Napoli trying to get a high five. He runs up to the steps of the dugout with the same enthusiasm and optimism as a dog that just heard a bag of chips open in the other room. He reaches out and tries to connect with Yan, but misses by mere inches.
Mike Napoli's eyes telling him that something is just a little bit higher or lower than it actually is? Unprecedented! In this case, does it count as a swing and a miss, or is he caught looking? Spurned (on accident, I'm sure) by Yan, Napoli focuses his attention on Juan Uribe. We know that Napoli is a patient man; by my count, it takes six seconds from the time the offer is made to the time the high-five is consummated. Determination. Grit. Focus. Mike Napoli Plays the Game the Right Way Even if he Can't Slide.
The inning ended when Kipnis struck out, stranding Rajai Davis (walk) and Chisenhall on base. Still, the triple gave Corey Kluber a rare early lead, and he did not surrender it.
Moving forward, let's hope for more first-pitch hanging curveballs, smooth high-fives, and that Lonnie isn't in too much pain when he tries to sit down today.