Crazy D-backs game features Shelby Miller as emergency outfielder
Crazy things can happen on a baseball field any given day. A game might feature a no-hitter, a triple play or a position player on the mound. In fact, that last event has its own Twitter account.
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What happened in the Arizona Diamondbacks game Sunday wasn’t exactly the same thing, though it was in the same vein. In the 13th inning of the contest, pitcher Shelby Miller was used as the team’s left fielder.
How the heck did this happen? Well, a few things had to take place before the D-Backs considered putting their 25-year-old starter out in left.
First off, the Diamondbacks only carried four bench players. Manager Chip Hale replaced starter Robbie Ray with David Peralta in the fourth inning. Rickie Weeks Jr. was used as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, and Hale turned to Jake Lamb in the same situation in the eighth. Those three substitutions were exactly what you would expect in a normal nine-inning game.
Of course, that wasn’t the case. The D-Backs managed to tie things up in the bottom of the ninth, forcing extra innings. Backup catcher Chris Herrmann pinch hit in the 10th, exhausting all of the Diamondbacks’ position players.
At that point, you would expect Hale to just stick with his position players until the game was over. That may have been the plan, but we’ll never know. In the bottom of the 12th, shortstop Nick Ahmed was ejected from the game for arguing strikes.
[Elsewhere: Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara makes game-saving catch at the wall]
After Ahmed’s at-bat, Hale called upon Zack Greinke to hit for reliever Tyler Clippard. After Greinke singled, he was replaced by Miller, who came in as a pinch runner. Miller would wind up scoring the tying run in the inning, sending things to the 13th.
Without any position players left, Hale opted to move Miller to left field for the top of the inning. Since this is baseball, of course Miller saw action at his new position.
The second batter of the inning, Sean Rodriguez belted a double off the top of the wall in left. Miller didn’t have a play on the ball in the air, but did a good job predicting where it would go after bouncing off the wall, and fired in a throw to second. He didn’t look too bad on the play.
Miller was tested again during the frame on a Jonathon Niese line drive. Yes, Pirates pitcher Jonathon Niese got an at-bat late in the contest, and managed to drive in a run with a line shot that dropped in front of Miller. Again, Miller didn’t have a play on the ball in the air, but looked pretty natural fielding it off a bounce.
To recap, pitchers were everywhere. Greinke knocked a single in extras, and was replaced by Miller, who scored the tying run to extend the game and then was used as a left fielder. While in left, Miller fielded an RBI line drive hit by Niese.
Oh, right, and lost in all this craziness, the Pirates won the game 12-10.
[Elsewhere: The Nationals are selling “Make Baseball Fun Again” shirts]
It’s safe to say no one could have predicted that coming into the game. Just when you thought you had seen it all, baseball finds a way to surprise you.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik