Jackie Bradley Jr. wins it in extras thanks to position player pitching

Jonathan Daniel

A win is a win, regardless of what position the pitcher normally plays.

You might have been asleep when the Red Sox defeated the White Sox in extra innings on Wednesday night, either because the game went 14 innings or because Boston managed to walk 15 times and only score six runs in the process. If so, you missed one of my favorite baseball moments: the White Sox had to use a position player to pitch.

It ended up costing Chicago, as utility man Leury Garcia pitched about as well as he's hit to this point in his young career by allowing two runs on two walks and a double in his inning of work. It's not his fault, though: the White Sox had to use him, as they had already gone through Ronald Belisario (one inning), Scott Downs (faced one batter), Jake Petricka (one batter), Donnie Veal (2/3 of an inning), Maikel Cleto (1/3 of an inning), Matt Lindstrom (two innings and a blown save), and Daniel Webb (three innings) prior to that: that's all seven members of their bullpen. There weren't many bench options, either, as Jordan Danks, Paul Konerko, and Tyler Flowers had already entered the game as replacements as well.

So, poor Leury Garcia had to take the mound in the top of the 14th to face Grady Sizemore, A.J. Pierzynski, and Daniel Nava. Things actually started out well for the Pale Hose, with the right-handed Garcia getting Sizemore to ground out and Pierzynski to fly out, but a Daniel Nava walk began the unraveling process. Jonathan Herrera would follow up with his own free pass, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position for Boston, and bringing Jackie Bradley Jr. to the plate:

Garcia would recover and induce a ground out from Dustin Pedroia, but the damage had already been done.

He showed a mix of pitches and decent velocity considering he's not actually a pitcher. Garcia had a four-seamer, a sinker, and a change-up according to PITCHf/x database Brooks Baseball, with the fastballs coming in around 85 miles per hour and the change-up getting appropriate, quality distance from them at 76. The pitch he left in the zone for Bradley was flat, though, and as a non-pitcher, Garcia didn't have the velocity behind it to get away with that. Overall, though, Garcia showed decent movement (read: any) for a guy who until now had probably only pitched as a hobby.

Garcia's most significant issue was that he couldn't keep the ball in the strike zone. His change-up was the only pitch he was able to throw for strikes, but since his fastball missed the zone too often, he didn't get the chance to use his off-speed offering enough. Don't worry, Leury: maybe Robin Ventura will burn through his entire bullpen again and give you another chance to throw strikes. Hopefully it happens against the Red Sox, too, as they could use another gift or two at the moment.

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