The pinch-hitter stepped up to the plate Saturday evening with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, with Nationals starter Max Scherzer on the mound just one out away from a perfect game. Tabata was the last chance to break up the historic feat.
And down to his last strike, a 2-2, Tabata had one more shot. And while he got on base, the outfielder’s path there wasn’t in the most conventional way.
Scherzer threw a slider that hit Tabata’s elbow, breaking up the perfect game.
The Internet went berserk.
But my question is, should we really be mad at Tabata? He’s not going up to the plate looking to get out and see Scherzer complete a perfect game. He’s looking to get a hit, not get hit.
No one should be upset with Jose Tabata. That’s like being upset with your taxi driver for dropping you off at the right address. He went up to the plate with one job, to extend the game and that’s what he did.
“I wanted to get a hit,” Tabata said Sunday, via The Washington Post. “People don’t understand that those were the instincts people have. I wasn’t looking to get hit. I wanted to get a hit. I wanted to get on base.”
If there’s anyone you should be upset with, it’s Max Scherzer. Why would Scherzer go inside on Tabata with two strikes and two outs? Why not go outside and make him chase? That’s what most pitchers would have done. You don’t even risk hitting Tabata that way.
“It was a slider inside,” said the outfielder. “I wanted [to keep my front shoulder] closed because I thought the slider was going to break. But it kinda stayed floating. You’ll understand if you’re in the moment and batting. But really, it wasn’t my intention to get hit in that moment.”
At the end of the day Scherzer walks off the mound Saturday night with his first no-hitter of his career. That’s not so bad if you ask me.
Until next time… Come back tomorrow for Big Al Sternberg/Fake Sandy Alderson.