The Oakland A’s lost their series in Pittsburgh this weekend, but it was still a positive experience for their newest player.
The A’s have a lot of impact talent in Triple-A, and the first of those prospects came up to the majors on Friday in the form of outfielder Skye Bolt. He was shredding the ball in Las Vegas, with six homers in 22 games, and an injury to Mark Canha opened up a spot in the majors.
Bolt got into all three games in Pittsburgh, though he never got to start. He made his MLB debut on Friday, as a pinch-hitter. With the A’s leading by 10 runs in the 7th inning, Bolt was called on to hit for pitcher Brett Anderson, and he ended up fouling out against Francisco Liriano. He batted again in the 9th and struck out against Richard Rodriguez.
Things went better for Bolt on Saturday, though. He once again pinch-hit to lead off the 7th, this time for pitcher Liam Hendriks, and he crushed the ball off Pirates reliever Keone Kela. It went for a double, and his first career MLB hit.
By all rights, it probably should have been a homer. He blasted it 104.4 mph off the bat, with an estimated distance of 386 feet to straightaway right field, and that kind of contact will go out in most stadiums. However, the RF wall at PNC Park is 21 feet high, in honor of Roberto Clemente’s jersey number, and this ball glanced off the absolute tippy-top of it. If Clemente had worn No. 20 then Bolt would have had his first dinger.
The carom off the wall was news to Bolt, though, and I can’t blame him. That RF wall has another odd quirk, as about two-thirds of the way up there’s a window where fans can see through to the field. To the untrained eye who doesn’t ever watch games at PNC, it looks like the wall ends at the bottom of that window, but it actually goes up several more feet. Bolt thought he’d hit it out and jogged his way to second base, before realizing that the ball was still in play. Fortunately he was still safe by plenty, avoiding a potentially embarrassing TOOTBLAN on the heels of his big moment.
Skye Bolt did indeed think he’d homered on that double for his first major league hit. Says, “I guess I have to do my homework more on visiting parks.”— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 5, 2019
Don’t beat yourself up, kid. The A’s only play at PNC once every six years, so it should be a while before this issue comes up again.
Bolt got one more at-bat, in Sunday’s game. This time he waited until the 12th inning to pinch-hit for pitcher Ryan Buchter, and he was rung up by lefty Tyler Lyons on a generous strike call by the umpire.
Overall, Bolt went 1-for-4 this weekend, with a double and two strikeouts. On defense he didn’t need to do much in CF, with just a few routine flies hit his way, so we didn’t learn anything new about him on that side of the ball. Add it all up and it was a perfectly decent debut weekend, on top of the impressive accomplishment of reaching the majors at all.
Welcome to MLB, Skye, and congrats on your first hit! Athletics Nation looks forward to seeing many more from you.