Christian Vázquez still has Brayan Bello’s back
Just 24 hours after Christian Vázquez was traded to the Astros, he goes above and beyond to show both teams that he will always have his pitcher’s back
The series in Houston with the Boston Red Sox was always a bit awkward. With game two taking place on the trade deadline date, there was an awkward moment when Christian Vázquez was traded mid-warmup, informed via an on-field reporter, then pulled away from an interview to be walked from one dugout to the other. Pretty unusual.
Then the following day, just 24 hours later, Vázquez starts behind the plate against his old team in a game three Houston 6-1 blowout. There was a mind-boggling moment in the third inning when Yordan Álvarez got four strikes thrown to him, leaving everyone watching the game confused as to what happened. Everyone that is, except the umpire, the Astros, the Red Sox, and Álvarez himself, all of whom simply played on as if strike three never existed. Truly bizarre.
Then in the fourth inning, there was an interesting play where Alex Verdugo scaled the wall in right field to rob a home run from Kyle Tucker, except that he got up there and realized that he didn’t need to. He climbed back down and caught the ball on the warning track, being perhaps the first time that an outfielder made a play by scaling down a wall. Quite interesting.
And then there was a moment that was unusual, interesting, and faith-affirming all at the same time.
In the bottom of the fourth, Red Sox pitcher Brayan Bello got two quick strikeouts before giving up a double and an infield hit. The Astros’ new catcher Christian Vázquez alerted the Red Sox dugout that Bello looked uncomfortable on the mound and Boston manager Alex Cora made a trip out to replace him.
“There was a catcher on the other side paying a lot of attention too, pointing it out,” Cora told reporters in the post game presser. “I’m like ‘I got it.’ Hopefully it’s nothing serious and in X amount of days he can be okay.”
Bello had thrown only 16 pitches, hitting 97.7 mph with his fastball, before giving way due to something not feeling right in his groin.
“Obviously he’s very important,” continued Cora. “He felt like ‘Give me one more pitch to get this thing over with.’ But if I let you throw and you get really hurt, I’ll be going to Caguas.” The last statement was a reference to Cora’s hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Vázquez had been close to Bello before being traded and demonstrated that the pitcher-catcher relationship is the most sacred in all of baseball, perhaps even all of sports. It is more of a marriage than a partnership, and the ability to understand each other’s thought process is an integral and curious aspect of the game.
Even when the battery is broken up, pitchers and catchers still feel in tune with previous team mates, and Vázquez went above and beyond to make sure that the Red Sox were on top of Bello’s status. There is nobody in the Houston clubhouse who would begrudge that and it should make the Astros pitching staff, if anything, respect him more. A tip of the hat to a true sportsman.