Yeah, this was a weird one. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know that Javier Baez and Jose Berrios were brothers-in-law. I’m sure it was brought up back when Berrios pitched at Comerica Park in June, but I guess it slipped my mind. It seems like one of those stories that would be driven into the ground, like the Matthew Stafford/Clayton Kershaw story. Did you know they went to high school together?
This was an at-bat that had a little bit of everything. Baez missed a home by about five feet three times, forgot what the count was, and thought he drew a walk on what was actually ball three. Then he took what was an excellent breaking ball at 85 MPH that just missed the plate. It was an at-bat that was parts patient, parts frustrating, but thoroughly entertaining. What makes this at bat such an anomaly was that it was Javier Baez doing something he never does, and that’s showing patience. Few players in baseball have seen fewer pitches per at bat than this guy has since he came into the league. He loves chasing that breaking ball in the dirt, but I guess facing his brother-in-law just brings out the best in him.
Moments like this are what make baseball fascinating to me. You have two guys who got contract extensions in the offseason who have failed to live up to expectations. Berrios’ ERA is almost an entire run and a half higher than it was a year ago, and Baez’s OPS is down over 100 points compared to last season. All of that was thrown out the window for a brief moment yesterday as these guys went toe to toe like it was Game 7 of the World Series. Berrios would go on to pitch one of his best games of the year yesterday. His ERA against the Tigers this season in two starts is 1.20, and it’s 5.53 against everyone else. He did have one blemish yesterday in an otherwise brilliant start. It came in the 4th inning when he gave up a solo shot against his own brother-in-law.
Only in baseball, man. Only in baseball.