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Santiago Casilla and the unintentional strike

Sep 9, 2010, 3:46 PM EDT

There was an odd moment in last night’s Giants-Diamondbacks game when Santiago Casilla set out to intentionally walk Adam LaRoche and instead fired a 63-mph “fastball” right down the middle for a first-pitch strike.
MLB.com has the video, which is worth checking out if only to see LaRoche’s dumbfounded reaction to what had just happened.
Casilla went on to successfully fire the next four pitches out of the strike zone despite getting ahead in the count 0-1. And it worked, because he induced an inning-ending double play from the next batter, Mark Reynolds.
I’ve always assumed that some team somewhere has faked an intentional walk and thrown a strike to get ahead in the count, but doing it on accident is definitely a first. I give the home-plate umpire credit for paying enough attention to actually call it a strike.

  1. Funzo - Sep 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    But still not quite as cool as that time Miguel Cabrera singled in the go-ahead run on what was meant to be the first pitch of an IBB.

  2. Cru11 - Sep 9, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    It looked to me that Casilla was on the rubber ready to pitch and Buster wasnt paying attention. You can see Buster adjusting his face mask as Casilla first sees Buster mid-pitch. My logic is Casilla figured itd be better to throw it at the standing target rather than throwing it where its supposed to be (5 feet outside) and throw a wild pitch.

  3. Buccofan - Sep 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    1972 World Series–
    Reds had runners on second and third with two outs. Johnny Bench up. Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek calling the game on NBC. Count goes to 3-2. Gowdy asks Kubek, “Do the A’s have a play where they call for the intentional walk and the catcher sneaks in behind the plate and catches strike three?” Kubek answers, “I don’t know.”
    Sure enough, the catcher (don’t remember if it was Dave Duncan or Gene Tenace) calls for the intentional walk, Bench relaxes, catcher quickly goes into his crouch, pitcher throws a meatball for strike three. Inning over. I can only imagine the look Kubek must have given Gowdy.

  4. nps6724 - Sep 9, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Maybe 10 years ago, Cleveland faked an intentional walk on a 3-2 count with 1st base open and got strike 3.

  5. mgflolox - Sep 9, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    I remember that play very well, in fact, I have the ’72 series highlights on my DVR. Rollie Fingers didn’t want to take any chances and actually threw a slider, knee-high on the black for strike three. Bench later said he was ready for it, but he couldn’t have hit that pitch anyway. Maybe he was just covering his butt, but it was by no means a meatball down the middle.

  6. skitchx48 - Sep 10, 2010 at 4:29 AM

    A similar thing happened to Brad Lidge earlier this year, but it was called a ball (admittedly it was closer to a ball than this pitch).

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