When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong
Brad Boxberger was on the mound Tuesday for the Tampa Bay Rays. Boxberger was almost certain that the night would end with a win. But as he was pitching, confrontation reared its ugly head.
“Now batting for the Yankees, #24, Gary Sanchez.”
Brad heard the comment and had a simple choice to make: pitch to the insanely hot rookie slugger or walk him in order to face the recently released and acquired Billy Butler, thus keeping it real by not backing down from a challenge.
“Gary Sanchez? Gary Sanchez? I’m Brad Boxberger! I keep it real!”
Boxberger decided to throw Sanchez a first pitch slider. What Brad didn’t know was that Gary Sanchez was a 10th degree slugger at the plate who studied film on pitchers just so he could crush them during in-game situations and was hitting .316 and slugging .842 against sliders at the major league level in 2016.
What ensued was one of the most spectacular ass-whoppings ever witnessed in Tropicana Field. Viewer discretion is advised:
Butler, who has struggled mightily against righties of late, grounded out to shortstop four pitches later.
In all seriousness, this was not an entertaining moment. Sanchez is on a Ruthian-like tear these days while Boxberger is still trying to find any semblance of his 2014 self. Hickey and Cash may be earning the player’s trust by allowing him to choose his own adventure in an otherwise unimportant game, but Boxberger has been in these situations before. The difference now is that he is struggling with his command and approach to hitters. A bad decision was multiplied by bad pitch execution and an even worse outcome.