'I love the elements': Brebbia thrives in rainy win

May 5th, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- faced a precarious situation in the 10th inning of a 6-5 White Sox victory over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon, evening and eventually night at Busch Stadium.

The bases were loaded with nobody out and rain was starting to come down. But three hours and three minutes later, the White Sox completed that 10th without allowing a run, ending a nine-game road losing streak, a seven-game Interleague losing streak and a four-game losing streak overall.

Brebbia was not on the mound for the final out, although he did strike out Lars Nootbaar and Masyn Winn to keep the White Sox in control. The right-handed-throwing reliever even jumped ahead at 0-1 on Nolan Gorman before the game was stopped as the rain finally became too much.

And if everyone was forced to wait over 180 minutes for the final four pitches thrown by Tanner Banks, then there might as well be someone with Brebbia’s humorous candor to discuss this strange contest. For example, Brebbia seemed to make an impassioned plea to the umpires after the pitch to Gorman, which only could be assumed to be a request to stop the game in the middle of the deluge.

Not so fast with the assumptions, according to Brebbia.

“No, I said, ‘Don’t you dare stop this game. Just keep it going,’” Brebbia said. “I don’t know what they said back to me. I know what they wanted to say is, ‘You are an idiot. We are going to stop it.’

“I did my best to try to keep it going so we didn’t have to wait around for hours to finally finish it. Plus, I was having a good time. It was pouring rain, and you don’t get to do that often.”

That’s right. Brebbia enjoyed pitching in the rain, despite trying to protect the ball on the mound to keep it dry and wiping his hands on his pants to keep them dry.

“A lot of fun. I love the elements,” Brebbia said. “You don’t often get to play when it’s pouring rain because they stop the game. So I try to take every advantage of that as possible. It’s just an absolute disaster when it’s coming down like that. So you never know what’s going to happen.

“The ball could not make it back to me from home plate to the pitcher’s mound without being soaking wet. So I tried to close the gap and get it as quick as I could and just cover it. It was kind of soaked.”

White Sox players did a variety of things to stay busy during the prolonged delay, along with getting updates every 30 minutes or so about playability on the rain-soaked field. Some were working out, and pitchers were doing post-work stuff, according to Brebbia.

Some played cards, and while they had their fun according to manager Pedro Grifol, they stayed focused. Banks’ focus came in the form of a 30-minute nap.

“We came in inside and, ‘It's OK, I'm the last arm available in the bullpen. It's going to be me,’” Banks said. “Then it [dragged] out, [dragged] out and [dragged] out. I got to the point sitting here where I was like, ‘OK, I have to relax, do something to take my mind away from the game,’ because you can't stay locked in for a couple hours.

“That's kind of the mentality of the bullpen. I ended up taking a nap to reset and refocus. But it was good."

Action resumed at 7:31 p.m. CT with right-handed-hitting Iván Herrera pinch-hitting against Banks facing an 0-1 count. Herrera swung at the first pitch from Banks, took the next borderline pitch for a ball, fouled off a third one and then took another borderline offering for a called third strike on an 87.9 mph changeup.

This second save of Banks’ career qualifies as one of the strangest outings of his time in baseball. Then again, nothing is ever normal or easy where the White Sox (7-26) are concerned.

“Never been part of anything like that before,” Grifol said. “But I’m happy to be on the right end of that one, because that would have been a tough one to lose.”

“One hundred percent. I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of it,” said White Sox starter Erick Fedde, who allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings as one of eight White Sox pitchers. “Waiting around to lose would have stunk.”