A wild Friday night in Major League Baseball wouldn’t have been complete without an appearance from Heath Bell. Right on cue, the newly anointed Arizona Diamondbacks closer delivered a moment that managed to stand out amongst the weirdness as he finished out his old team, the San Diego Padres.
Naturally, the play happened in the ninth inning. With one out, Padres outfielder Will Venable dragged a bunt that slowly bounced into no man’s land between the pitcher’s mound, first base, and the second baseman’s position. You know what that play usually looks like. Three fielders converging on the ball looking like they’ve never prepared for the scenario a single time in their professional career.
Sometimes you’ll see a second baseman bail the team out with a nifty glove flip (only if the first baseman reads it correctly). Other times you’ll see the pitcher scoop it up and run to the bag himself. But most of the time it’s a frustrating base hit.
I’m not completely sure what Heath Bell was trying to do on his attempt to field the ball from his pitching position. Maybe he initially thought he’d scoop it up and somehow win the footrace with the speedy Venable. If so, he was sadly mistaken, because the result was an awkward and fruitless belly flop dive that we’re surprised didn’t knock the wind out of him.
Predictably, the result of the play was an infield hit for Venable. Bell then made things a little more interesting by walking the following hitter, Alexi Amarista. That brought the tying run to the plate, but Bell recovered to record the final two outs and his seventh save on the season.
Hey, don’t laugh, it really is Bell’s seventh save. He’s actually enjoyed a decent amount of success since taking over the closer’s role for the injured J.J. Putz on May 7. Over his seven appearances since that date, he’s successfully converted six saves (with one blown save), while posting a strong 2.70 ERA. Who knows, maybe his resurgence is taking place right before our very eyes and we’re not completely appreciating it.
Big BLS H/N: The Score