Jun 10, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
Tony Sipp was a centerfielder at Clemson, but once he became a pitcher he thought the days of patrolling the outfield were behind him.
Welcome back to National League baseball, home of the double-switch and creative substitutions.
The Astros were shorthanded in the bullpen on Monday. Fellow lefty Darin Downs, who pitched two innings the day before, was unavailable and Rudy Owens was the long man in the pen, ready to come in if the one-run game went to extra innings.
“Coming into that situation as a staff we kind of knew that once Cosart came out of the game we were going to have to be creative and try to match our guys up as best we could. Having a guy like Tony Sipp who can play the outfield, it gives you that kind of flexibility.”
So Sipp became a strategic pawn in Bo Porter’s master plan.
“When (Sipp) left the dugout (in the eighth inning) he knew he was going to get the first guy and that Williams was going to come in and get Goldschmidt, and then he was going to have (Miguel) Montero,” Porter said. “So it was pretty much explained to him before he left the dugout, so no one was shocked.”
Knowing and being prepared might be two entirely different things, though. Sipp struck out Gerardo Parra and out came Porter to make his unusual double switch, bringing in Jerome Williams to face right-handed hitting Paul Goldschmidt and sending Sipp to right field.
“I didn’t think it was actually going to happen, though. He gave me a warning, but I’m like, ‘Alright, okay Bo,’” Sipp said.
[RELATED: Drake is coming to an Astros game]
Once in the outfield, Sipp started running the possibilities through his head.
“I don’t think I had time to be nervous, I was just more focused more than anything because obviously if I let a guy, if I misplay a ball then I put myself in a worse situation because I have to come back and face Montero, I knew that,” Sipp said. “I joked around with Dexter and told him, ‘Hey, if I have to dive for a ball back me up.’ He was like, ‘Hey, you better not dive.’ Ultimately I would have had to work with whatever situation I had out there so I was fully prepared to dive.”
Williams ended up walking Goldschmidt and Sipp was brought back to the mound to face Miguel Montero, who he also struck out. Kyle Farnsworth then replaced Sipp, who took a seat on the bench to watch Martin Prado strike out to end the inning and preserve the one run lead.
- 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker 45
- ACES GALORE: The Rays trade David Price to the Tigers 121
- Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly 86
- The Lester trade is a win-win 112
- Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes 164
- The State of the Trade Deadline: Yesterday was pretty sleepy. Will general managers wake up today? 40
- Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians 49
- There’s a “very good chance” the Red Sox trade Lackey and Lester 53
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (202)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (199)
- Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes (164)
- Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo (123)
- ACES GALORE: The Rays trade David Price to the Tigers (121)