A hit batter can be everything from an unfortunate accident, to a bench-clearing trigger to the cause of a season-ending injury. In some rare cases it can even result in a strikeout, and not one, but two players suffered that fate in Monday night's round of games.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips took a pitch to the right knee from Diamondbacks reliever Joe Thatcher, while Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was hit near the left knee with what looked to be a slider from Indians side-arming reliever Joe Smith.
In both cases, it was determined that the batter offered at the pitch for strike three, and it couldn't be more cut-and-dry what happens when a player swings at a pitch that hits him, according to the Official Baseball Rules.
Rule 6.05 (F): A batter is out when he attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him.
As Mike Axisa of CBSSports pointed out, Phillips is tenth in the MLB in swing rate on pitches outside of the strike zone (38.5 percent) while Aybar is 27th among the 151 qualified batters (35.0 percent), so it's not all that shocking that these two were offering at pitches bad enough to hit them.
Phillips more or less laughed off the strange occurrence, but Aybar and manager Mike Scioscia argued briefly before being turned away by the home plate umpire.
If anything, Phillips had more of an argument as he looked to have perhaps checked his swing in time, but there was no question Aybar was out. Either way, it definitely won't be one for the highlight reel of either player.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo suffered the same fate earlier this month in a game against the Dodgers, so it's not all that uncommon an occurrence. However, for two batters to suffer the same unfortunate end to an at-bat on the same night was at least note-worthy.
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