No-look snag to start slick DP is Play of Week

May 10th, 2021

started one of the slickest double plays you'll see all year on Sunday night against the Phillies, and it was acknowledged with a Play of the Week honor. He's the first pitcher to win the award since Marcus Stroman in 2019.

The Braves' left-handed reliever didn't just go behind his back, he went behind his head -- no-look -- to field a comebacker from Odúbel Herrera and start a double play in the seventh inning of Atlanta's 6-1 win.

Matzek spun back toward first base and reached all the way around his head to spear Herrera's chopper back to the mound, without ever seeing the ball land in his glove. Then he fired a perfect throw to shortstop Dansby Swanson at second base to get Rhys Hoskins, and Swanson relayed to first as the Braves turned two.

“[Matzek] told me it was all those years of being on the bucket for BP and trying to catch balls over their heads," said Freddie Freeman, who homered and went 3-for-3 in the win. "It’s what pitchers do during BP to try to make it fun for them, because it can get grueling in the summertime having to shag for us every day.” 

Added starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa through an interpreter: “I have not practiced that. That’s just out of this world. That’s only something he can do.”

Matzek earned a nice ovation from the fans at Truist Park for his highlight-reel effort.