A few years ago, early in the World Series, Pablo Sandoval teed off against the Tigers, going deep three times. What people tend to remember most is Sandoval tomahawking an 0-and-2 Justin Verlander fastball, up and out of the zone. Sandoval, of course, has always been perhaps the best bad-ball hitter in the game, but it was still something to get on top of that kind of pitch, in that kind of place, in that kind of situation. A relevant still:
That’s a high pitch, that Sandoval drilled with little problem. The form looks good. I mean, it was a dinger — the form had to look good. Some people took to saying that Sandoval homered off a pitch at his eyes. Something of an exaggeration, sure, but it’s the language of baseball, and it’s not like pitches get a whole lot higher.
On Monday, against Toronto, Pablo Sandoval hit a pitch that was actually at his eyes. It wasn’t the World Series, and it wasn’t a home run. It wasn’t even a base hit. It was just a groundball, like any other groundball. Except for that one thing, where the pitch was more than five feet off of the earth. People still remember Sandoval going upstairs to punish Verlander. The pitch Sandoval put in play against R.A. Dickey was higher than the Verlander pitch by 21 inches. 21 inches is the height of the world’s smallest man. Between Monday’s pitch and the Verlander pitch, you could fit a whole man.
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