Pete Alonso’s Injury Highlights Risk of Hit-by-Pitch as Strategy

That was the genius behind a decision made by Martín Maldonado, the all-glove, no-bat catcher for the Houston Astros, in Game 6 of the 2022 World Series. Leading off the sixth inning with his team down by a run, Maldonado, who typically stands in the middle of the right-handed batter’s box, toed the chalk next to the plate. His sole intention was to get hit by a pitch, and that’s exactly what happened.

Facing elimination, the Philadelphia Phillies challenged the call, saying Maldonado had not made any attempt to get out of the way. But a replay review showed that Maldonado had set up so close to the plate that he hadn’t needed to move for the pitch to collide with his elbow, and the replay crew could not conclusively prove that he had not attempted to avoid the ball. Three batters later, Yordan Alvarez clobbered the three-run home run that put Houston ahead for good, clinching the Astros’ second World Series title.

While Maldonado got away with his gamesmanship, and Rizzo, Canha and Alonso have accepted getting plunked as the not entirely intended reality of their approach at the plate, Tim Locastro, an outfielder for the Mets, has surpassed them all by turning getting hit by pitches into an art form.

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