The utility infielder/outfielder has been called upon to defend a number of positions as an member of the Astros. On Monday night, he added some interesting new points to his resume – he played both catcher and pitcher as well.
After starting catcher Carlos Corporan took a hard deflected foul tip to the face mask and had to exit the game halfway through, Elmore, who had previously mentioned to his coaches that he could play a little catcher, was asked to suit up and step in. He caught four innings of flawless ball, assuring the club that should the need arise in the future, he is more than up to the task.
Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell lasted all of two innings before the rampaging Rangers figured out his slider and forced him up in the zone. It was obvious that this wasn’t his night. Texas eventually chalked up 11 runs in the third inning, in which every member of their rotation crossed the plate.
It was the second-highest number of runs scored in an inning this season (the St. Louis Cardinals posted 12 earlier in the year) and by this early point in the game, the result was all but determined.
So Bo Porter and his staff did some experimenting. Not wanting to tire out their bullpen so that they might be saved for the next game, recently promoted Wade LeBlanc was used as a long reliever. In just over four innings, he didn’t do much better than Harrell.
By the eighth inning, the Astros had managed to crawl back (in a very tiny way) by bringing the score to 16-5. It means very little of course, but were it not for the third inning, the score would have been 5-5. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t deal in “what-ifs”, and so in the bottom of the eighth, Bo Porter decided to roll a more bizarre dice – Elmore stripped off the catcher’s gear and took to the mound.
In a performance that must be slightly embarrassing for the Astros’ preceding pitchers, he tossed eight strikes on 11 pitches in a 1-2-3 inning. Elmore even got on base both times at the plate with a walk and a sharply-hit single up the middle.
There were very, very few positive notes to take from the game for Bo Porter and the Astros, but Jake Elmore could at least go to the locker room with a wry smile on his face.