TopicKirk Gibson

  • Sun 27th Sep 2020 - 2:18am

    Urías was long gone by the time the clubs exchanged advantages over the last three innings, this year's extra-inning rule providing back-and-forth like a tennis match. Belt went deep with one out in the bottom of the ninth off Jansen to tie the game and send it into overtime. In the top of the 10th, the Dodgers scored on a crossed-up passed ball and errant throw by rookie catcher Joey Bart, allowing automatic runner Justin Turner to score from second base. In the bottom of the 10th, Turner made a diving backhand stop but had no play to make as Bart Jackie Robinson Youth Jersey, the automatic runner, scored from third base on Mauricio Dubón's infield single. In the top of the 11th, the Dodgers took another lead on Turner's two-out RBI infield single, his fourth hit of the game, which required some high-stepping by Turner to avoid the tag of stumbling pitcher Tyler Rogers. But the Giants tied it again on Evan Longoria's one-out RBI hit off Dennis Santana, and with two outs former Dodgers Minor Leaguer Donavan Solano went deep to left-center. “A lot of weird stuff happened tonight,” said Turner. “This extra-inning stuff is kind of wild. Even a one-run lead like tonight, you can score a run without getting a hit. Definitely puts pressure on defense and a pitching staff, but we just couldn't shut them down.” Blown saves for the Dodgers went to: Jansen; Scott Alexander, who hadn't saved a game since 2018; and Santana, who hasn't had a save since 2014 in the Dominican Rookie League. In Monday's intrasquad game, top prospect Gavin Lux slugged a pair of home runs off Tony Gonsolin Joc Pederson Jersey, earning Lux the kind of praise from Dodgers manager Dave Roberts that hasn't been heard since last year. "Really good," said Roberts. "Obviously, facing a good arm in Tony and hitting a homer off a fastball and changeup. Gavin is and has been in a good place, so his being recalled seems like a very good possibility at some point." Lux arrived late to Summer Camp, with no explanation from the player or the club why. But in limited game action before official games started, Lux's bat was frozen on his shoulder and he was spraying throws around the infield. He then was optioned to the alternate training site and hasn't had a big league callup. However, Lux is part of the current expanded taxi squad that for this trip also includes Gonsolin, Rocky Gale, Mitch White and Luke Raley. Gonsolin is eligible to be called up as early as Saturday, which would be the regular start day for struggling right-hander Ross Stripling. The Dodgers were hoping to get Alex Wood into a game before next Monday's Trade Deadline, but Roberts nixed that idea on Tuesday after watching Wood pitch into the third inning of the intrasquad game. Wood has been on the injured list since July 28 with shoulder inflammation. "I think it was positive, but not overwhelmingly positive as far as how he came out of it," Roberts said. "I haven't heard anything about how he feels today. Honestly, I don't know the next step." Wood's spot in the rotation has been filled by Stripling Julio Urias Jersey, with Gonsolin up and down as a sixth starter. Presumably, lacking confidence in Wood's health could increase the Dodgers' interest in acquiring a veteran starter like Lance Lynn or Mike Clevinger with an eye on October. "He's not there yet," Roberts said of Wood's return. "When I talked last week, the hope was potentially to get him activated this weekend in Texas. Obviously, he's not here and that's not to be. Right now, I just don't know when his activation might be with us. "We were hoping and Alex was hoping he'd come out of it feeling strength and really good in his delivery. But right now, coming out of it, he felt good but not great." The Dodgers added shortstop prospect Jacob Amaya to their player pool at their alternate training site after reportedly sending home pitching prospect Edwin Uceta for violating protocols, although the club has not commented on Uceta's situation. Amaya, the club's No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline Justin Turner Jersey, was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, but he was left off the original player pool. Mark McGwire had arrived in Minnesota in the midst of his record-smashing 1998 campaign with the Cardinals. He had hit 36 home runs in just 73 games, including a monstrous shot off Twins pitcher Mike Trombley the night before. The 37-year-old Tewksbury, on the other hand, was in the swan song of a very good 13-year MLB career. He had a curve and a fastball that generally stayed in the mid-to-upper 80s -- maybe 90 mph on a good day. But ... he also had another pitch. A kind of secret weapon he had developed in the mid-1990s and pulled out only when the timing was right. What some would call a junk-pitch. An ultra-slow curve that came floating into hitters at a cartoonish 50 mph. "I remember I did it in San Diego in '96," Tewksbury told over the phone. "I threw it to Willie McGee and he wouldn't talk to me for the next three days." Tewksbury thought the pitch might also work against a power hitter like McGwire Kirk Gibson Jersey, who feasted on fastballs. But he would only throw it to him if he got the first two batters out in front of him. He told teammates of his plan, and they were more than excited when the time came in the top of the first. "I get the first two guys out and there's this thunderous noise of footsteps coming from the clubhouse down to the field to watch me throw this pitch," Tewksbury remembers. "I could hear it on the mound." The Twins' soft-throwing starter followed through on his promise -- baffling one of baseball's most monstrous home run hitters in the prime of his career, not once, but twice with -- as his son called it -- "The Dominator." The slowest pitch a pitcher can pitch: the eephus. The eephus' origins go far back in baseball time and can maybe best be understood from the Hebrew origins of the word: nothing. It translates to "nothing." Of course, it's been called other names, too. The balloon ball, the Monty Brewster, the rainbow curve, the Bugs Bunny curve, the Super Changeup, the Soap Bubble (Vicente Padilla), the Fossum Flip (Casey Fossum), the McBean Ball (Al McBean), the Folly Floater (Steve Hamilton). Whatever the name, they're usually all the same -- a slow, high-arcing pitch, generally in the 45-55-mph range, brought out to surprise the batter looking for a 95-mph fastball and leave him thinking, "What in the hell just happened?" Tewksbury, like many others who practiced the pitch, adapted it on his own. It was something to add to his repertoire and make his fastball seem faster than it might've been. But Rip Sewell, the man who made the eephus famous, was actually forced into throwing it to save his career. After spending years and years in the Minor Leagues, Sewell caught on with the Pirates at the age of 31 and did well from 1938-'41 -- a 40-32 record, 3.58 ERA and MVP votes in the 1940 season. But then, in the winter of 1941, he shot himself in the foot during a hunting outing. Sewell couldn't push off the mound with his right toe like he used to, and his fastball and curve suffered for it. So, he ended up developing a new pitch to counteract his troubles: a 25-foot high, back-spinning slow-ball. He would hold onto the seam and then flip it toward home plate with three fingers. Bill Phillips, a 19th-century pitcher, was likely the only other to ever throw something like it. But that was 40 years before; Sewell had brought the eephus into the modern era. Pittsburgh's hurler described how batter Dick Wakefield reacted when he first saw the pitch during an exhibition matchup in 1942. "He started to swing, he stopped, he started again, he stopped, and then he swung and missed it by a mile. I thought everybody was going to fall off the bench, they were laughing so hard." It maybe looked a little something like this. After the game, Sewell's teammate Maurice Van Robays was the first to coin the pitch an "eephus." Reporters asked what that meant and he said, "Eephus ain't nothin, and that's a nothing pitch." (Efes is actually how it's spelled in Hebrew.) That nothing pitch resurrected Sewell's career, and from his age-35 season in 1942 to his age-42 in 1949, he'd never been better. He went 103-65 with a 3.36 ERA, including back-to-back 21-win seasons in '43 and '44. Some hitters caught it and fired it back at him, while others wondered if it was even legal. Sewell was also an All-Star three times during that stretch and tried out the toss against Ted Williams during one of those Midsummer Classics. It did not go well.

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