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The Strike Zone

Spittin' image: GIF clearly shows Alex Sanabia loading up baseball

Clay Buchholz has nothing on Alex Sanabia, at least when it comes to sheer brazenness. Where the Red Sox hurler was accused of applying a foreign substance to the baseball by two Blue Jays announcers earlier this month, the Marlins' Sanabia was caught on camera last night literally spitting on a fresh baseball immediately after surrendering a home run to the Phillies' Domonic Brown. Video from Philadelphia's CSN affiliate:

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Brown's home run came in the second inning of the Phillies-Marlins game, and while it evened the score at 1-1 at the time, it would be the only run Philadelphia scored all night in its 5-1 loss.

The wet one in question, which went unremarked upon by the Phillies' broadcasters, was delivered to Delmon Young, who took it for a ball. A look at the MLB.com GameDay rendering shows that the pitch — an 88 mph sinker that didn't really sink, according to PITCHf/x — wasn't anywhere near the strike zone, and even the notoriously hacktastic Young wasn't moved to swing:

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Young hit Sanabia's next pitch, an 83 mph slider right in the zone, to centerfield for an out.

We don't know how many wet ones Sanabia threw, but Monday's start was his best since his first outing of the season on April 5 against the Mets. He threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and walking one while striking out three en route to his first quality start since April 27 against the Cubs. It was the first time since his April 16 outing against the Nationals that the Marlins won a Sanabia start; he hadn't pitched well in the interim (5.46 ERA with six homers and 14 walks in 28 innings), but it didn't help his cause that the stinking Fish scored just 11 runs in those five starts, and five in the last four of them.

Given the way the deck is stacked against any pitcher of a 13-32 team scoring just 2.71 runs per game, you can hardly blame one for grasping onto even the most tenuous advantage. The umpires missed Sanabia's transgression, but it remains to be seen if Major League Baseball uses the video to justify a fine or a suspension.
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