We’ve all had bad days. Days where it seems like nothing is going to go right, and everything is going to be harder than it should be. Athletes are no exception, and on Tuesday night, Greg Holland was having that kind of day.
I’ve seen some strange walk-offs in my day. Just as a Giants fan, I’ve seen (fairly recently) walk-off walks and walk-off balks, to name a couple. But I’ve never seen anything quite like what happened to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the ninth inning, Arizona was leading 4-3. With two outs in the books and one more to go for the win, Holland just....forgot how to throw strikes? I mean, that’s the overly simplistic answer, I suppose.
Chris Taylor saw six pitches, two of which he fouled off to start the at bat. The others were four straight sliders called for balls. Holland fared slightly better with Russell Martin, who at least saw a couple of (low) fastballs, but the results were the same. And it only got worse from there.
Alex Verdugo saw five pitches, one an honest to goodness called strike in the strike zone, but the rest were more low sliders and an errant high curveball for the third straight walk of the inning. This led to the second mound visit of the inning, but the Diamondbacks weren’t ready to pull the plug on Holland just yet, so they left him in to face Matt Beaty, who walked on four pitches and scored Chris Taylor to tie the game.
Arizona had finally seen enough, so they made a pitching change to right the ship and hopefully send the game into extra innings. So, in came T.J. McFarland to face Cody Bellinger with bases loaded.
The first pitch to Bellinger was a sinker that was, admittedly, a borderline call, but home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt was likely not feeling particularly generous after the previous four walks, so it was called a ball. McFarland got Bellinger to look at another sinker, and foul the next one off to give himself the most favorable count seen thus far in the inning. But then he tried a changeup that dropped in the dirt. So he went back to the sinker but it....well, it did the opposite of sink, with pitches five and six outside by about four inches. Thus walking the fifth batter in a row and scoring the winning run for the walk-off walk-fest of the season.
And if that video doesn’t still work by the time this publishes (gotta love the MLB marketing strategy) here’s another look: