Erik Kratz fulfills our dreams as the first position player to pitch this year
There are a multitude of reasons why we love position players pitching. When they're really good, it's a sneak peek at a possible alternate reality.
And when they struggle, lobbing up 73-mph fastballs, we can imagine that it's us up there facing off against Major League hitters -- even if we never topped 53 mph on that carnival "test your speed" machine.
Erik Kratz fulfilled both on Tuesday night. With the Astros trailing the Mariners, 9-1, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the usually-a-catcher emerged from the bullpen to try and end the game and save Houston's bullpen.
While he didn't have mid-90s heat, Kratz did sit in the mid-80s and looked downight respectable in the role. With a little more practice, he could even make a habit of this.
Of course, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the catcher. While Kratz gave up two runs on three hits, he didn't walk anyone, either. A fact he was proud of when he told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:
"I didn't walk anybody," he said. "I was satisfied my elbow stayed together. I'd like to one day get on the mound and let one eat, but I'd like to also keep playing my career, too."
Of course, even if he didn't walk anyone, his control wasn't perfect. With Seth Smith at the plate, Kratz released a pitch that apparently was filled with helium as it went straight up.
As Kratz said:
"It's the role of the backup catcher. You do what you can, stuff that doesn't show up it the stat line, to hopefully in the end help the team."
While the 11-1 loss was certainly not what the Astros were hoping for, it's the most perfect start to the position-players-pitching season that we as fans could hope for. And still 1,000,000 times better than any of us at home could ever do.
Well, except for maybe his son.