Nick Senzel thought it was out.
Pinch-hitting with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning during Thursday’s 7-5 loss to the Padres, Senzel almost hit a game-tying homer. On the 93-mph pitch from closer Taylor Rogers, he lifted a drive to right-center field. The only reason I didn’t think it was gone was because of the way Padres center fielder Trent Grisham followed the ball before smoothly catching it at the warning track.
In person and on replay, the ball struck off Senzel’s bat sounded like it was going to be a homer. The exit velocity was 103 mph with a 78 percent hit probability. Alas, it was another out that doomed the Reds to another loss.
Senzel was still irritated when asked about it on Friday afternoon in the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field.
“That’s got to be out. That’s got be a home run, man,” Senzel said.
Senzel has been off to a slow start, which wasn’t helped by his missing about a week with a stomach illness during the previous West Coast trip. Statcast ranks him only in the 26th percentile for exit velocity. He hit his first homer on Tuesday vs. San Diego and it’s at least felt like he’s been making better contact.
“It’s a little bit difficult when early on in the year, you don’t get big-time results like maybe other people have,” Senzel said. “It’s a little bit more magnified when you don’t get hits and stuff, especially when you’re taking good at-bats and you’re hitting the ball hard and those don’t fall. And maybe some of the other at-bats aren’t better ones. You have to take it as they come. That’s going to happen. That’s going to be baseball. I think there is something being said for us coming back and just doing it again, keeping on battling and keeping on fighting. I’ve hit some balls hard, and they haven’t gotten down. Then you also hit a couple not-so-hard ones and they get down. People say it evens out and I don’t even know if that’s true.”
One quirky stat Senzel has been racking up are catcher’s interference calls during his plate appearances. He’s reached three times already in 2022 and has had it happen nine times in his brief big league career. Pete Rose is the all-time Reds leader after reaching 19 times on catcher’s interference. Edwin Encarnación is now third with eight.
“When the catcher tries to steal strikes and they try to go get it and frame it up, if there’s a pitch that I pick up late, see late, and it’s two strikes and I’m trying to foul it off, sometimes that is going to happen,” Senzel said.