Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud took a 52-mph to the left arm and somehow lived to tell the tale.
During the eighth inning of a 16-4 Braves snoozer, there was one bright moment of excitement. After a handful of Nats hurlers had given up 13 runs through the game’s first seven innings, the Nationals called for outfielder Dee Strange-Gordon to take the hill in an effort to save their true pitchers for another day.
What ensued were more runs and a reaction for the ages when d’Arnaud was hit by a change-up from Strange-Gordon. If you can even call it a change-up.
WITNESS THE DRAMA UNFOLD BELOW:
This is phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/4u9KvBAu0f
As the video illustrates, Strange-Gordon’s pitch looked exactly like the type of toss you’d expect from an outfielder. It misses the strike zone, the bat, and pretty much everything else besides d’Arnaud’s arm.
The Atlanta catcher good-naturedly played along. He collapsed to the ground as though in unbearable pain, but he kept his smile entire time. The reaction drew cheers and laughter from the entire ballpark, including the manager for each team, Dave Martinez and Brian Snitker, who were both caught on camera smirking from their respective dugouts.
Following the Braves win, d’Arnaud admitted he’d been planning his HBP comedic routine in advance, telling Bally Sports: “I had that in my head if I got hit, I was going to do that. I probably spoke it into the future.”
Strange-Gordon’s turn as a stand-in pitcher wasn’t quite as funny. In one inning of work, he gave up two hits, three runs, three walks, and nearly killed a man. Which, on second thought, is actually hilarious.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF