A Thursday evening game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres would seem unassuming enough, but the two teams combined to make an otherwise sleepy game fairly interesting.
The most peculiar moment came in extra innings with the game tied at 3-3. Padres left fielder Seth Smith injured his groin grounded out to start the 11th inning. This is where it gets slightly confusing:
Padres manager Bud Black is down to two bench players: Tommy Medica, a first baseman/left fielder, although really a first baseman; and backup catcher Rene Rivera.
So Black obviously has to put Medica into the game in left, but this puts the Padres in a bad spot. The pitcher's spot would be due up third for the Padres in the 12th, a spot Medica would have been used as a pinch-hitter. Black could use Rivera there but you hate to burn your final bench player, especially your backup catcher, unless absolutely necessary.
Black could double-switch, taking out reliever Tim Stauffer and putting in Alex Torres in Smith's spot, but he wanted Stauffer to remain in the game to face righty-hitting Jayson Werth. The light bulb goes on in Black's head: Put starting pitcher Andrew Cashner in left field for one batter, so Stauffer can stay in to face Werth, and hope the ball isn't hit to him.
So Cashner, the Padres' ace and Opening Day starter, became the first San Diego pitcher to play a field position.
Okay, so he lasted one out and he did not have to do anything, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
So what else was odd about this game? Well, the Nationals challenged a safe call at second on a stolen base and won.
Which was eventually followed by the Nationals losing on a double play when Everth Cabrera caught Jose Lobaton's liner at short and doubled up Bryce Harper, who will not win over any naysayers who criticized him for his lack of hustle last week.
"This was a weird one," Black confessed told reporters.
You are telling me.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.