CLEVELAND – Ben Gamel entered play with one career home run, a pinch-hit two-run shot on September 12, 2016. Coincidentally, Ariel Miranda was the winning pitcher in the Monday night clash at Angel Stadium.
Over seven months later, the 24-year-old circled the bases on a ball that hung in the air for 5.8 seconds and somehow found the seats in right field off the cruising Carlos Carrasco to hand the Mariners a critical insurance run in the sixth inning.
Was Carrasco really at fault for giving up a home run that took almost took as long as Mike Trout’s sprint time from second base to home plate (6.8 seconds)?
From a location point of view, yes.
Carrasco left a 1-1 fastball humming at 92.5-mph out over the plate, right in the wheelhouse of Gamel. But there was not solid contact being made on the pitch as shown by Gamel’s 98.3-mph exit velocity, 40 degree launch angle, and shallow distance of 346 feet.
Statcast confirmed that Gamel missed the barrel of his bat as his swing lifted the ball an astounding 121 feet in the air, making it a likely flyout to Abraham Almonte in right field.
Nearly six seconds later, Gamel found himself with his second career home run off one of the hottest pitchers in baseball…
According to the innovative technology, the homer had an 11% chance of being a hit, meaning that Carrasco gets an out in that scenario the majority of the time.
The difference? Wind.
6-mph winds blowing out to right field proved to be the reason in making that 11% chance come to fruition.
The jaw-dropping homer is certainly a rare feat to achieve as the unlucky Carrasco could only tip his cap and move on to the next batter.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.