The Philadelphia Phillies had very few highlights in Friday’s 12-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Their two biggest were provided by Pedro Florimon, who started the game at shortstop, and somehow ended it as the team’s most effective relief pitcher.
Along the way, he even managed to pull off a feat that Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani has yet to accomplish in Major League Baseball.
Allow us to sort all of this out for you.
Who is Pedro Florimon?
He’s an eight-year veteran who has appeared in 298 MLB games, suiting up for the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s currently serving as a utility player for the Phillies.
He’s a versatile defender, having spent time at second base, third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He’s a career .214 hitter who doesn’t possess much power. In fact, he entered the season with only 10 home runs in 271 games. Ironically, he broke a five-season homerless drought at the MLB level in Thursday’s game against the Cardinals. The stretch covered 220 at-bats.
What were the Phillies thinking?
Down by nine runs in the eighth inning, manager Gabe Kapler decided he wasn’t going to burn another reliever to get three outs that wouldn’t make a difference in the outcome. Instead, he turned to Florimon, a utility player by trade who has become the team’s de facto emergency reliever when games get out of hand.
Florimon made one prior relief appearance in a loss to the Braves on March 31. On that night, he allowed two earned runs in an inning. He was much better on Friday, retiring Steven Baron, Dexter Fowler and Kolten Wong in order. Of the five Phillies who pitched in the game, he was the only one to not allow three runs. That includes former Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta.
How does Shohei Ohtani factor into this?
Here’s where things really get interesting. After officially moving into the pitcher’s position, Florimon would come to bat one more time in the ninth inning. And wouldn’t you know, he muscled up for another rare home run?
As for Ohtani, he’s been the starting pitcher in six games this season. He’s homered in another five as the Angels DH. He’s never done both in the same game though.
Shohei Ohtani hasn't homered and pitched in the same game.
But Phillies' backup infielder Pedro Florimon – or should we call him SuperMan? – has.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) May 19, 2018
Another way to look at this: Pedro Florimon, the light-hitting infielder, can now technically say he’s homered as a pitcher. Whereas Shohei Ohtani, the power-hitting two-way star who is drawing comparisons to Babe Ruth, can’t yet make that claim.
Is it fair to make this connection?
After all, Ohtani has yet to even have the opportunity to bat and pitch in the same game in Major League Baseball. Based on Mike Scioscia’s plans for him, that might not happen at all this season.
Ohtani did have that opportunity a few times while playing in Japan, but it’s unclear if he ever homered while on record as the game’s pitcher.
More than anything, this is just one of those weird occurrences that makes you stop and think before concluding, “That’s baseball.”
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