Cliff Pennington became the first position player to pitch in the postseason
If you ever thought you had seen everything baseball had to offer, that's just absolutely not true. Not to get all "Garden State" on you, but every game, no matter the moment, has something unique and remarkable to show you.
Such as Tuesday's ALCS Game 4 between the Royals and Blue Jays. With the Royals leading, 12-2, in the top of the ninth, the Blue Jays realized they had to try something different. So when they went to the bullpen, they didn't call one of the more familiar names -- they went with veteran utilityman Cliff Pennington.
Despite eight years in the league with three teams, playing four positions along the way, Pennington had never been called to the mound. And despite over 100 years of postseason play, there had never been a position player to take the mound before.
So, in a way, Pennington's first offering -- a 91-mph fastball for a called strike -- was groundbreaking. Edwin Encarnacion was certainly impressed to be a witness to history.
As he should be. After all, according to PitchFX, Pennington used a four-seam and two-seam fastball along with a changeup and curveball. And while position players can often confuse the system thanks to, well, being position players with fringey "pitches", this may not be the case for the infielder:
When Pennington came in to pitch, Russ Martin asked him what he had: "He goes, 'fastball, curveball, cutter, change-up.' I was like, what?"- Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) October 21, 2015
Though Pennington would give up two singles, letting two runs come in to score along the way, he did eventually settle down, getting Ben Zobrist to pop out on a 90-mph fastball to end the inning - but even then, Pennington didn't completely forget his infield training as he went sprinting in to try and help out with the catch.