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Trailing 11–3 heading into the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross turned to journeyman catcher Tucker Barnhart on the mound to get his team’s final three outs. The result: One of the funniest pitches of the year.
Barnhart, making his second appearance of the season on the mound, turned to an eephus pitch to fool Red Sox hitters. 11 of his 12 pitches registered at under 45 miles per hour (the lone exception was a fastball that clocked in at 74.8 mph), with the slowest coming in at just 37.6 mph. One eephus dropped a remarkable 182 inches (more than 15 feet) per Codify Baseball.
The pitches mostly fooled the Red Sox hitters, as they were retired quickly outside of a single from Masataka Yoshida. They also tricked home plate umpire Ben May, who called a strike in the clip above despite the pitch clearly registering well above the strike zone. Hilariously, Barnhart was the lone Cubs pitcher not to allow a run Sunday, and he also kept the Mets scoreless in May in his other action on the mound this season.
Fans loved Barnhart’s unorthodox pitches.
If the Cubs need a new setup man, they know who to call.