The Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves on the wrong end of a lopsided game Friday night, which prompted manager Dave Roberts to have Hanser Alberto pitch the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres.
Alberto taking the mound for his seventh appearance set an MLB record for most by a non-pitcher in a single season. He then extended it by appearing in Saturday’s win. The stat does not take into account two-way players such as Shohei Ohtani and Brooks Kieschnick.
“I think it just happened organically,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Alberto pitching. “I didn’t expect him to break position-player records pitching. I think a lot of it has to do with being a teammate. He never runs from it, he understands the value of taking an inning to take care of a guy in the bullpen.
“I really appreciate him as a baseball player. He understands his role on the ballclub, and that’s part of the reason why fans adore him and players respect him.”
Alberto, who made his pitching debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 2019 and also took the mound in one game with the Kansas City Royals, first did so as a member of the Dodgers on May 17. Alberto allowed one run as he finished out a 12-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 29-year-old was back on the mound nine days later, again facing the Diamondbacks, but at Chase Field. Alberto allowed a single but worked a scoreless ninth inning in the Dodgers’ 14-1 win.
He didn’t pitch again until July 28, turning in another scoreless appearance to record the final three outs of the Dodgers shutting out the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Alberto was back on the mound two weeks later to face his former Kansas City Royals teammates. He allowed a hit and issued a walk but completed the third of what would become four consecutive scoreless appearances. The utility infielder added to that by holding the Milwaukee Brewers without a run on Aug. 23.
That marked the start of back-to-back appearances, but Alberto had his scoreless streak snapped on a two-run home run by Hunter Renfroe.
Alberto’s appearance on Friday night marked his first time doing so in a Dodgers loss.
Hanser Alberto blamed Austin Barnes for home run
Following his second consecutive pitching appearance, Alberto interjected as Austin Barnes began his postgame interview.
“Ask why he called a breaking ball,” Alberto quipped.
Barnes responded: “That was a bad matchup. Renfroe, he threw it right where he likes it, so that’s on him.”
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