In a crucial moment during the game, Pete Alonso steps up to the plate with runners on the corners in the bottom of the first inning. As he faces Jordan Hicks, tension mounts as they prepare for what could be a game-changing at-bat. The pitcher delivers a fastball, setting the stage for a contentious and debated call that sparks frustration and astonishment. Let’s delve into the details of this controversial moment and its impact on the game.
Pete Alonso’s Fastball Prowess
Before we delve into the play, it’s important to acknowledge Pete Alonso’s impressive career statistics against fastballs. With a remarkable 555 slugging percentage, Alonso has proven his ability to crush fastballs throughout his career. However, there is one significant exception – fastballs up and in. Despite his prowess against most fastballs, he has never managed to get a hit on a fastball up and in. The challenge of hitting 95-plus mph fastballs up and in is not unique to Alonso; it plagues the entire league.
Jordan Hicks and His Unhittable Inside Fastball
Enter Jordan Hicks, a pitcher known for his extraordinary velocity. Hicks possesses the ability to throw incredibly hard, making him a formidable opponent. Interestingly, he has not given up a hit on an inside fastball during the current season. Combining Hicks’ exceptional speed with his ability to locate the pitch precisely, he presents a formidable challenge for any batter, including Alonso.
The Controversial At-Bat
Back to the at-bat in question. Hicks delivers a fastball that seems a little too high and too inside, reaching a staggering 101 miles per hour. The ball appears to hit Alonso, leading the umpire to call it a hit-by-pitch, granting Alonso first base. However, the St. Louis Cardinals’ manager, confident that the ball hit the bat instead, decides to challenge the call.
The Challenging Decision
As the replay is analyzed from various angles and in slow motion, both the players and the broadcasters weigh in. The evidence suggests that the ball hit the bat knob, not Alonso’s hand. Despite this, the umpire’s decision remains unchanged, leaving many bewildered and frustrated.
The questionable call in favor of Alonso leads to some first-inning runs for the Mets, fueling frustration among the Cardinals’ players and their manager. The replay review process, which should ideally provide clarity, instead adds to the confusion and raises questions about the accuracy of the call.
The controversial call during the Alonso-Hicks at-bat highlights the challenges faced by both batters and pitchers when dealing with fastballs up and in. It also emphasizes the significance of accurate replay reviews in making fair and objective decisions during critical moments in the game. Regardless of the outcome, this incident will likely be remembered as a moment that sparked heated debate and showcased the intricacies of baseball.