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Mitch Walding and the Venditte Rule: Dodgers 8, Phillies 2

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Started bad, got worse, and made some history along the way

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies got creamed by the Dodgers tonight. No question. Zach Eflin gave up five run on two homers, Victor Arano allowed two more, and Drew Hutchinson allowed a nightcap; so the damage was spread out all night long. With Chase Utley on the DL, there’s really nobody that interesting on the Dodgers’ roster, so it’s not worth spending a great deal of time on them. Matt Kemp somehow continued to coax an All-Star season out of somewhere, and some guy named Max Muncy hit a homer.

Two things of significant interest did happen tonight, however.

First, rookie and freshman callup Mitch Walding made his debut for the Phillies, playing third and batting seventh. Walding was originally called up in place of Pedro Florimon after OPSing .863 at LeHigh Valley this year. Today, though, he became the first player in Phillies’ history to go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his debut.

So, that’s not good, but it is arguably interesting. Right?

Also, the Dodgers’ turned to Pat Venditte to close out the game. Venditte is known as the switch-pitcher, or, if you’re a particularly uninterested copy editor, an Amphibious Pitcher.

Venditte has been a bit of a journeyman, but did spend part of last season with the LeHigh Valley IronPigs, where he was fairly average. During his career, though, MLB needed to come up with a game plan for the unlikely scenario where a switch-hitter goes up against a switch-pitcher. Theoretically, each could simply walk back and forth across their respective zones for an eternity, though that would be hard on the ol pace-of-play figures.

Oh.

Well so the Venditte Rule states that the pitcher must first declare how he will pitch that at-bat, then the batter can declare. Neither may change their handedness during the at-bat.

Which is unfortunate, because if anything would have made tonight's game better, it surely would be if it could just last infinitely long. Upon consulting the MLB rulebook, there is nothing about the heat-death of the universe, so the game would have to be finished up by the process of proton decay or something. I’m sure the umpires will figure something out.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with the heat death of the universe. It’ll surely be more fascinating than this game was.

Good night, folks.