It's never a good sign when a position player has to pitch in a game.
Unfortunately for the Giants, that was the case Saturday night, as outfielder Mike Tauchman was called on to pitch the ninth inning of an eventual 10-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Oracle Park.
With the Giants trailing by seven runs, manager Gabe Kapler had the 30-year-old make his first career pitching appearance.
Tauchman threw 25 pitches, allowing three hits and one earned run. Every pitch he made registered as changeup, according to Baseball Savant, and Tauchman topped out at 81.5 mph on his 22nd pitch. His average velocity was 71.1 mph.
After the game, Tauchman told reporters the last time he pitched was 2010 when he was playing summer ball up in Alaska.
As for Saturday, Giants bench coach Kai Correa was the one tasked with talking to Tauchman about pitching.
"Situation was, first I got asked 'You think you could throw strikes?' I said 'Yeah.' I was like 'Do you want me to go get warm?' And they were like 'Yeah, probably. And if we score, you're not going to pitch. If we don't score, you'll pitch,' " Tauchman told reporters on a video conference call after the game. "I was like 'Ok, cool.' And then I ran down in the tunnel, got the phalanges hot and then it was a pretty quick inning and they were like 'That's three outs.' And I was like 'Well, we didn't score, so strap it on. Here we go.' "
Asked by The San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea what his goals were for the outing, Tauchman had fun with the answer.
"My first goal was to not have anything hit back at me because I haven't been, defensively, in the infield for probably 10 years and I don't want to get with a line drive," Tauchman said. "That would be worst-case scenario. My second thought was, I wonder what the slowest pitch ever thrown in major league history was and could I beat that? I think I've seen something in the mid 40s."
Tauchman never came close to throwing a pitch in the 40 mph range, as his slowest pitch sailed in at 66.9 mph, according to Baseball Savant.
"And then I came set and I was like, my hand was shaking pretty good. I was pretty nervous about just the first pitch and I was like, I think if I lob it, I'll either not get it to home or throw it 10 feet over his head and I don't want to start thinking about what the bench would be like," Tauchman said. " 'This guy said he could throw strikes.' So I was like, you know what, I'm kinda gonna throw it like, I've thrown a lot of [batting practice] before, I was a minor leaguer working in the offseason to little kids, I was like I'll just try to throw a straight-ish BP. I'll have to get with [Andrew Bailey] tomorrow and check out my Rapsodo metrics, but I felt like I was spinning it pretty good out there.
"And then my third thought was, this whole thing is a little ridiculous, so I'm just going to get on the mound and go and try to throw as many strikes as I can. And after I threw a couple, I was like, this is a pretty good rhythm so I'm just going to keep trying to throw strikes and try to get the guys off the field before this turns into even more of a crazy situation. Fortunately I was able to get a couple outs before it got too out of hand and get us off the field."
Tauchman was able to limit the damage to just one run, and he did get the Giants off the field quickly.
Hopefully for Tauchman and the Giants, he won't need to take the mound again this season. If he does, something has gone terribly wrong.