Can we all agree a shortstop should not have to contend with both a flying ball and a flying bat on the same play? Tell that to Eric Sogard, the Oakland Athletics shortstop who found a broken bat flying at him Thursday afternoon moments after he had caught a soft line drive off the bat of Houston Astros designated hitter Chris Carter.
Sogard made the catch then squared up like he was going to make a throw to first base — when the bat comes flying at him and took out his legs. Sogard hit the dirt, tripped by the splintered bat. Luckily Carter was already out, so the fall didn't cost the A's. Double luckily, Sogard didn't appear to be hurt.
Big League Stew couldn't help but wonder, was this just a freak baseball occurrence (like the broadcast team alludes to, how often do you see a play like this?) or was something more dastardly at work?
Sogard is the rival of Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Garza (remember that whole beef?) The Astros just finished a series with the Rangers before coming to Oakland. Could Garza have somehow engineered a plot like this one ...
You're right, probably not. But, hey, we all got to watch a "Karate Kid" clip, lucky us.
The A's, however, have been quite unlucky lately. In the first two games of their series with the Astros, Oakland came within inches of walk-off wins, on both nights. Thursday — except for this weird play — was a reversal of fortune for the A's, who won 5-0 behind a stellar performance by rookie pitcher Sonny Gray. He went eight innings, giving up only four hits and striking out nine.
Also: His leg was swept by zero bats. Bonsai!