Miller: Starlin Castro, a cup of beer and the most impressive at-bat of 2018

From Sam Miller at on November 28, 2018:

On July 9, a Marine in blue dress D’s picked up a baseball that had landed in the lounge area beyond the left-field wall at Marlins Park. He dropped the ball into a cup of beer and then chugged the beer, an amusing faux pas that got the attention of the internet. That attention dramatically increased the viewership of Starlin Castro’s seventh home run of the season, which had occurred before MLB’s 10th-smallest crowd of the year.

So what most of the world saw was only the final pitch of the at-bat. It had come on the 11th pitch from Josh Hader, one of 2018’s breakout stars — this was, in fact, his first batter after being named an All-Star. At that point in the season, there was a plausible case no pitcher had ever been as difficult to face as Hader, used as Hader had been used. Batters were hitting .104 against him, which would have been the lowest in history for a season of at least 20 innings. More than half the batters he had faced had struck out — the second highest K rate in history. That’s how this plate appearance started, and then, for Castro, it got exponentially more hopeless.

And yet you know how it ended. We spent a lot of time looking at Hader this year. Let’s take a moment to look at Castro, and how a battle is won.

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Originally published: November 30, 2018. Last Updated: November 30, 2018.