Results tagged ‘ Miguel Batista ’
On July 27th, an anxious crowd waited for Stephen Strasburg to emerge from his warm-up bullpen session, ready to take the mound that night against the Atlanta Braves. Instead, it was Miguel Batista who made that pregame walk from the ‘pen to the dugout with Pitching Coach Steve McCatty. Boos resonated throughout Nationals Park when the PA announcer made it official: Miguel Batista would be the night’s starting pitcher thanks to an inflamed right shoulder that bothered Strasburg during warm-ups.
Batista himself couldn’t believe that the home crowd would boo its own starting pitcher–this isn’t Philadelphia–before he had even thrown one pitch. But that one start, his only start of the season amongst 57 other relief appearances, would define Batista’s entire year. No one remembers that he gave up five runs in 1.2 innings of relief on Opening Day to begin his career with the Nationals, good for a 27.00 ERA. They remember him giving his best Strasburg impression. They remember that he pitched 5.0 shutout innings of three-hit ball while recording six strikeouts. They remember the priceless Miss Iowa reference.
Everyone remembers the comment: “Imagine if you go to see Miss Universe, then you end up having Miss Iowa.”
He later clarified, saying, “People started booing me, and they hadn’t seen me throw a pitch yet. It’s like you hear ‘Miss Iowa,’ and you say, ‘Iowa?’ And then you see her up close and you say, ‘Wow, she’s gorgeous.’”
He could write a book from the one-liners and quotes he’s used throughout his 23 professional playing years. In fact, he has already written two books–a novel and a book of poetry. He’s a philosopher at heart. You ask him a couple yes or no questions and you get a 30-minute commentary on anything from Socrates to Ozzie Guillen. And the man brings a saxophone on away trips.
As unique as he is off the field, he is just as unique on the mound. His value lies in his ability to be used in a variety of situations–now mostly as a long and middle reliever, but he was also once a consistent starter for Arizona and Seattle and an effective closer for Toronto and we, of course, saw what he could do as an emergency starter with ten minutes of prep time this year.
He said of that infamous July game, “I just tried to give the people what they came to see. They came to see a 20-year-old and ended up having [someone] almost 40. They were expecting 10 strikeouts on the bump, but I’m too old for 10. I tried to give them the best I could, stay in the game, make the guys swing the bat because I knew I was limited on my pitches.”
He is consistently giving the best he can. He is a free agent and it is anyone’s guess if he will be back. But it is a safe bet that next year, he will be a reliable part, and probably the most versatile part, of someone’s bullpen.
Relief pitcher Miguel Batista spent some time prior to Saturday’s game in the PNC Diamond Club, fielding questions from fans and moderator Rob Dibble for another installment of Inside Pitch Live:
You were voted the number one good guy in Major League baseball by Sporting News in 2003. In that same season you were suspended for 10 games when you hit another good guy, Cardinals first baseman Tino Martinez. That led to a bench-clearing brawl. Were you not able to use your good guy status to lower that suspension?
Well the good guy status–that was a mistake. They couldn’t find anybody else to give it to. No, but he thought it was intentional, then he started screaming stuff and before we knew it, there were people punching each other. It was kind of funny because I didn’t throw any punches. Everybody else fought but us. That was fine for me.
You played for nine different teams. What has the journey been like over the last 20 years?
Long. It’s been interesting. I’ve seen this team evolve from being in Canada, changing that ugly uniform we had to this–that was a good improvement–and seeing great superstars come up. It was funny because somebody told me the other day I’m the only guy that still plays that actually played with Andre Dawson.
What’s the secret to staying in great shape and pitching for 20 years in professional baseball? What do you have to do to keep yourself physically fit?
The first thing I learned is knowing yourself–knowing what you can do, knowing your role. Some guys they take weightlifting too hard. They forget that they have to be ready to pitch. Some of them want to look like body builders out there trying to pitch. That’s something that I don’t want to do, especially at my age. I’m one of the few dinosaurs left, as they called me the other day. I try to do the best I can just to be ready to pitch every day. I do certain maintenance. There are certain things that I need to do to be ready, especially when you’re the reliever. You have to be ready to pitch every night, regardless of how many pitches you threw the night before.
You’ve been called “the poet.” You’re written a novel called The Avenger of Blood. You have a poetry book out called Feelings in Black and White. What is your inspiration?
O boy…anything. The inspiration comes from everywhere. Writing a novel is a totally different thing. You can improvise, especially fiction. I believe fiction is the greatest thing in the world. You can be as good as God or as bad as the devil.
Poetry is a different thing. It’s a moment in time. You have to frame it when you see it and if you don’t, you may never remember it the same way.
On July 27th, Stephen Strasburg was scratched. You made the spot start. When you were introduced, fans booed you. You then went out and pitched five scoreless innings. Did you use the negative vibe that night as motivation?
No. I was surprised they started booing me before I hit the mound. I go, okay, you haven’t even seen me throw a pitch and you’re already booing? That’s no good. But when I got to the mound, I thought about what I needed to know. We had a game plan to execute. There’s a lot going on, especially for pitchers. We have to be alert. You have to block everything out and execute your game plan.
After the game, you had some good comments. You said, “Imagine you go to see Miss Universe and you end up having Miss Iowa.” Do you wish you would have compared yourself to Miss South Dakota or Miss Wyoming? …I actually thought it was funny.
You would be one of the few. My original thought was that people are booing without seeing the product. They just heard Miguel Batista’s pitching and they start going “Booooo.” Well, I guess after the night was over, Miss Iowa wasn’t as ugly as he thought he was.
And then she came here and now you guys are friends.
I wouldn’t call that friends (laughing). I had to explain to her how the whole thing went out of proportion.
What would you like to do when your playing days are over?
That’s a helluva question. I don’t know. I would have to find something to do. I have a lot of interests and things that have already tried–from broadcasting to writing for ESPN. But I haven’t actually pinpointed what I want to do yet.
You also play the saxophone, which I see carry everywhere on the road with you. How many years have you been playing?
I tried on and off for two year. But it’s like being married to a woman from a different planet. We don’t understand each other.
Your first year in Arizona in 2001, you won the World Series. Is that your greatest baseball memory?
In a lot of ways, it is. I think what makes it special is the fans. We were out there after the World Series was over and people were looking at us like we were rock stars. I understand that probably Randy Johnson is used to that kind of attention, but not me. I was going down the street and people were waving at me like they knew me. I was like, “Okay…” I wasn’t even used to that much attention.
Who would you love to strike out?
That would be a good question. I don’t know. If I had a chance, I would like to strike out Jesus.
There were 40,043 disappointed fans last night when Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled start. They came to see Strasburg but they got Miguel Batista. Who? Fans booed when it was announced that he was starting but they cheered him when he was named the player of the game in the 3-0 victory. Fans might have been disappointed at first but Batista did his best Strasburg imitation–pitching 5.0 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and tallying six strikeouts. If there is one thing for sure, Strasburg couldn’t have allowed fewer runs.
That got us thinking about other disappointing events. Here are 10 things that could leave anyone disappointed:
1. “Imagine if you go there to see Miss Universe and you end up having Miss Iowa,” Batista said.
2. Right along those lines, imagine if you go to see the movie Gladiator and they play Gigli. I still want to know who read that script and was like, “This is a brilliant idea. Get Ben Affleck on the phone right now.”
3. You search for the field of dreams and your journey takes you to Iowa. That alone could leave a person depressed but then you don’t find anything but corn fields and, of course, more corn fields. Someone tells you the field of dreams is fake. You then build it, and nobody comes.
4. Justin Bieber performs on Saturday Night Live and he encounters technical difficulties. His music stops playing and everyone finds out that he lip sings. The following day, an investigative reporter discovers that he forged his birth certificate and he is really 32 years old. His hit single Baby–the most watched video on YouTube with 263,355,863 hits and counting–loses the top spot shortly after.
5. Your boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes with a ring pop. It is safe to say the only way that can end is with an emphatic “NO!” and slap.
6. You are sky diving and your parachute doesn’t open. Can you imagine what your next thought is? Thankfully, your friend attaches to you and saves the day… and your life.
7. You get to Pee-Wee’s play house and realize it isn’t the play house you were expecting.
8. You buy the four Power Rangers–Jason (Red Ranger), Kimberly (Pink Ranger), Zack (Black Ranger), and Trini (Yellow Ranger)–after you saw a commercial on TV of them flying and saving the world. You open the box and quickly realize they don’t do anything you thought they did.
9. Your mom tells you Santa Claus is fake.
10. Stephen Strasburg misses a start and you find out he is human.
I know you were wondering why Doug Slaten got the victory instead of Miguel Batista, who became the pitcher of record after he relieved John Lannan with two outs in the fifth–starters have to pitch at least 5.0 innings to be the pitcher of record. Lannan would have earned the victory had he recorded the final out in the fifth, but Batista became the pitcher of record after getting the last out in the fifth.
Batista inherited two runners in the bottom of the fifth and allowed one to score. If he had stopped pitching after he recorded the final out in the fifth, he would have posted the 1/3 inning win–there were 54 of them last year. But here is where it gets semi-tricky… Batista pitched into the seventh inning and surrendered a two-run homer, cutting the Nats lead to 7-6. Slaten recorded the final two outs of the seventh and the official scorer decided to give him the victory. This is where rule 10.17 (c) comes into play–yeah, the one you memorized in middle school.
And Rule 10.17 (c) reads… The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.
It is clear that the official scorer did not find Batista’s three hits, two runs and one home run in 1.2 innings as effective and that’s why Slaten got the win.
In other news just as irrelevant… I am always amazed at the people at Elias Sports Bureau. I can’t imagine where we would be without them. They know everything. And if they don’t know everything, they sure can find anything. I think the world would be worse off without them. They let us know the last time someone went 4-for-4 on their birthday without driving in a run on the road after an hour rain delay with a 14 mph wind to the NE. They are good.
Here are five things I learned this week from Elias. I am now a better person because of it.
LOOK OUT, DENNY McLAIN… HERE COMES CLIPPARD
Tyler Clippard, who was credited with the victory in the Nationals win over the Mets, now leads the National League with seven wins this season. The last relief pitcher with a league lead with seven or more wins was the Braves Gene Garber in 1987; his eight wins led the National League as late as June 12 that season. Only one other pitcher in major-league history accumulated seven relief wins in as few as 34 team games: Houston’s Jim Ray had 7 wins in the first 28 games of the 1972 season.
BERNADINA, 0 HRs IN FIRST 113 AT-BATS, HITS 2 vs. METS
Roger Bernadina came into Wednesday’s game against the Mets with a .212 career batting average and no home runs in 113 at-bats over his 41-game major-league career. But he went 3-for-5 with two home runs–including one off New York’s relief ace Francisco Rodriguez in the top of the ninth that broke a 4-4 tie–and made a sliding, backhanded catch that saved three runs in the Nationals 6-4 victory. Bernadina became the first major-leaguer in nearly 11 years to enjoy a multiple-homer game after entering that game homerless in at least 100 big-league at-bats. The last player to do that was Tim Hyers of the Marlins, who hit what proved to be the only two homers of his major-league career in an 11-6 victory over the Devil Rays in St. Petersburg on June 6, 1999. Among the other players who did that but went on to have careers that lasted a bit longer than Hyers were Hall-of-Famers Lou Boudreau and George Kell.
OLIVO: 5-FOR-5 INCLUDING WALKOFF HR
Miguel Olivo’s 10th-inning home run capped a 5-for-5 day as the Rockies defeated the Phillies, 4-3, in Denver on Wednesday. Put this in your “Elias Says” Hall of Fame: only two other players in modern major-league history have gone 5-for-5, climaxed by a game-ending home run: Jim Northrup did it for the Tigers (actually going 6-for-6) in a 13-inning win over the Athletics in 1969, and Fred McGriff did it for the Braves against the Cubs in 1996. Several other players have had five hits in a game in which they hit walkoff home runs (without going 5-for-5), including Hall-of-Famers Kiki Cuyler, George Brett and Jim Rice, as well as Pedro Martinez’s former sparring partner, Don Zimmer (who did it for the Dodgers in 1957).
RYAN ZIMMERMAN’S TWO-HOMER GAME
Ryan Zimmerman hit a pair of home runs in the Nationals’ game Thursday at Coors Field. It was Zimmerman’s second two-homer game this season and the sixth of his career. His first two-homer game came in Washington on Aug. 4, 2007 but all five since then have been in Nationals road games.
GREINKE FINALLY WINS ONE IN 2010
Zack Greinke, the 2009 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, recorded his first win this season with a 6-4 victory against the Indians on Thursday. Greinke entered the game with a 0-4 record in seven starts this season, even though he had the 11th-lowest ERA in the American League (2.51). Excluding relievers, the only other defending Cy Young winners who did not get their first victory the next season until their eighth game or later were Jim Lonborg in 1968 (9th game) and Frank Viola in 1989 (8th game).