Friday, August 19, 2022

Blue Jays’ Raimel Tapia records MLB’s first inside-the-park grand slam since 2017 against Red Sox

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USATSI

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Raimel Tapia recorded Major League Baseball’s first inside-the-park grand slam since 2017 against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night. Tapia’s bases-clearer, which came during the top of the third inning, gave the Blue Jays an impressive 10-0 lead.

When it comes to inside-the-park home runs, most of them are the product of a fielder diving and missing, or having the ball take a violent ricochet away from them. That wasn’t the case here. Rather, Tapia hit a high fly ball to the center-field warning track that outfielder Jarren Duran lost in the sky. Take a look:

Duran eventually turned around and spotted the ball bouncing off the wall, but he made little effort to retrieve it. That task fell instead on the shoulders of left fielder Alex Verdugo, who returned the ball to the infield far too late to have a realistic shot at throwing out the speedy Tapia. (Tapia ranks in the 74th percentile in sprint speed, a measure tracked by Statcast that attempts to quantify raw speed.)

Originally acquired in March from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk, Tapia has served in a platoon role, facing right-handers nearly 90 percent of the time. He entered Friday night’s contest hitting .275/.300/.388 (93 OPS+) on the season with four home runs and five stolen bases (on six tries). 

According to research conducted by MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, the last inside-the-park grand slam was hit on September 8, 2017 by current Kansas City Royals outfielder Michael A. Taylor. Meanwhile, the last Blue Jays hitter to record an inside-the-park home run of any kind was Ezequiel Carrera on May 6, 2017, per Baseball Reference’s Stathead database.

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