Astros reliever Collin McHugh was the first pitcher this year to use the Diamondbacks new bullpen cart.
While tonight’s game did not get off to a great start, we did get to see Brett Strom ride the Diamondbacks bullpen cart in before the game. As he got out, you could see Astros manager A.J. Hinch shake his head as Strom gets out of the cart. Strom got off like a boss tossing a ball up in the air as he walked into the dugout. It seems like it’s fun, everyone does it, right?
The Diamondbacks are the only team that currently have bullpen carts in both the visitor and home bullpen. While this seems like an odd thing nowadays, it was very commonplace in the seventies. Because of how rare it is, no pitcher has used the bullpen cart this year to enter the game. Maybe pitchers don’t want to be seen as lazy, or maybe relievers are so used to the adrenaline they get running from the bullpen.
As we have gotten to know Collin McHugh in his time with the Astros, there is a lot to like about him. How well he pitched as a starter over the past four seasons prior to 2018. You can also be excited about how he pitched in the World Series, trying to adjust to the bullpen role. After the Astros acquired Gerrit Cole this offseason, McHugh has become one of the bright spots in the bullpen.
Oddly, he enjoyed the arbitration process over the past two offseasons. McHugh occasionally writes an occasional blog, which is pretty good by the way. The Diamondbacks have played 33 games this year, but no pitcher had used the bullpen cart to enter a regular season game. Cut 4 tried to help them out earlier in the week channeling Josh Reddick.
McHugh breaks the slump.
Then comes McHugh, who was entering the game in the sixth inning after Charlie Morton was pinch hit for in the top of the inning. McHugh didn’t mind the ribbing he would probably get from his teammates, he just wanted to try it out. McHugh rode in the back of the bullpen cart, marking the first time it has been used in Arizona history in a regular season game.
As soon as McHugh hopped off, he had a look of determination. He did walk the first batter but was able to retire the rest of the hitters. He struggled a little in the seventh inning, but Joe Smith came in and shut the Diamondbacks down. The Astros ended up losing the game 4-3 after Chris Devenski‘s wildness, but there were some good moments.
With the starting rotation, the Astros have gained some national attention recently. Especially with the whole Trevor Bauer comments. Some people on Twitter joked that Bauer would say the bullpen cart gave McHugh too much an advantage. McHugh will be the answer to a trivia question someday, but it gave some of the older baseball fans a blast from the past.
With all the efforts to speed up the game, it would be hard to see too many people taking the time to ride the cart in. We may see some more teams try to duplicate this if more pitchers start to use the cart. It seems like a great way to add more advertisers, the bullpen delivery was sponsored by…
Don’t expect a reliever such as Brad Peacock, who came into a bases-loaded situation, take the time to ride the cart. Will more follow in McHugh’s shoes, we shall see?