Advertisement

John Brebbia hopes to snap his bad luck pitching in torrential downpours

John Brebbia hopes to snap his bad luck pitching in torrential downpours originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

John Brebbia has become too accustomed to walking to home plate, grabbing a new baseball, walking it back to the mound while protecting it in his glove and getting it back over home plate as quickly as possible.

That's the routine Brebbia has adapted while playing through three torrential downpours in May, two of them more severe and memorable than the other.

"It's fine if you make it fine, you know?" Brebbia said of playing in the rain before Wednesday's game. "I would say that the umpires have been very generous with helping me with the pitch clock and stuff like that. Because there will be times where it's just like, alright, the ball is soaking wet.

"I gotta keep changing them out. Dirt on my cletes, give me 30 seconds to scrape it off type of thing. It's fine, right? I think once it just gets to the point where you can't play baseball they said 'Okay, no more.'"

First, it happened in St. Louis on May 4. Brebbia came in during the bottom of the 10th inning, trying to finish off the Cardinals and give the White Sox a 6-5 win. The rain kept coming, but Brebbia kept pitching.

Brebbia, with no outs, bases loaded, and downpouring rain, struck out both Lars Nootbaar and Masyn Winn to give the Sox two outs. Then, he got Nolan Gorman down to one strike. Despite his pleas to the umpires to keep the game going, they stopped the game short one strike away because of the rain.

"I don't think I've ever seen a game played in rain like that so that was fun, for sure."

After a three-hour rain delay, Tanner Banks eventually came in to finish the game with a strikeout.

MORE: ‘Don't you dare stop this game': Inside the White Sox's improbable rain-delay win

Brebbia must've thought he was out of the clear, but he wasn't. On Tuesday, a drop of rain hit his cheek while waiting in the White Sox's bullpen. He looked to their bullpen coach, and he shrugged.

He knew what was coming.

Brebbia, again, came into Tuesday night's game against the Blue Jays in the ninth inning. He wasn't aiming for a save, as the White Sox were down five runs. But he was looking to get through the final round of Blue Jays at-bats.

Through the pouring rain, Brebbia got Kevin Kiermaier to ground out for the first out. He walked Davis Schneider, then got Danny Jansen to fly out in short center field. Finally, he got out of the inning with a Vladamir Guerrero Jr. groundout.

That's when officials placed the game into a rain delay, with three outs left for the White Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning. At least this time, Brebbia got through his part before the game was delayed; but not without heavy rainfall ... again.

Side note: Brebbia pitched through rain against the Orioles last Friday, May 24. The game was never in a rain delay, but it poured during his stint. He allowed two earned runs from that appearance.

So, the question remains, has Brebbia angered the baseball and weather Gods? Has he made an enemy of Zeus, the Greek God of the skies, capable (and apparently willing) of sending thunder, lighting, rain and winds?

"For a while, I didn't think so," Brebbia said. "I thought it was just a coincidence the first couple of times. But after that (Tuesday's game), I'm clearly doing something where it's like, 'Alright, let's make sure this guy is absolutely soaked.'"

It's no fun pitching in the rain. And, obviously, it makes it way harder for pitchers to pitch. A wet baseball means Brebbia has to grip the ball harder to maintain control. Not to mention, it's no fun playing wet.

Brebbia, at this point, is used to playing in the worst permitted conditions on the baseball field. And he has no issue with playing in the rain. But after three rainy appearances in May, he's ready for sunny days.

"If no one scores, I don't care what happens," he said. "I'll take a couple of line drives off my face. If nobody scores, I'm gonna have a good time. It's cool to play in stuff like that because it's like check it off the box; hey, I played in pouring rain.

"Now I'd like it to stop. I did it once. That was enough. ... A nice warm, crisp sunny day is the next thing I need to check off the box I think."

What's worse, his teammates are taking notice of his rainy luck.

"Nobody likes it when I go in anymore."

Should the White Sox get a dome for him to pitch in?

"That'd be great."

Brebbia is holding a 6.38 ERA through 20 appearances and 18.1 innings pitched this season. He's recorded 20 strikeouts and five walks this season, while holding onto a 1.200 WHIP, also.

Unfortunately, his official statistics don't contain an asterisk for "played through three downpours."

They might have to add one, unless his luck starts to change.

Click here to follow the White Sox Talk Podcast.