Who says pitchers aren't athletes? All you need to do is take one look the reflexes Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle displayed in the third inning of the team's Opening Day game versus the Atlanta Braves to change your mind.
Mahle, with runners on the corners and his team nursing a 3-1 lead, got his glove up just in time to avoid bodily harm at the hands of Marcell Ozuna line drive that rocketed back up the middle of the diamond at 104.5 MPH.
Mahle had been cruising through the Braves batting order until Eddie Rosario drew a two-out walk. Matt Olson watched four of Mahle's five pitches miss the mark as well, and all of the sudden, Atlanta had life.
Reds RHP Tyler Mahle made a terrific catch.
With two on and two out Austin Riley grounded a ball sharply to third baseman Brandon Drury, who fielded it cleaning, but the delivery to the covering Joey Votto at first base was a bit off line and actually hit Riley in the back as he ran up the first-base line.
The misfire allowed Rosario to score on the play and Drury was charged with an error; though there was little the former New York Mets infielder could have done to prevent the play from occurring.
With Riley on first and Olson siting at third, Mahle had trouble on his hands and the ever-dangerous Marcell Ozuna ready to shrink the Reds lead. After falling behind Ozuna 2-1, Mahle delivered a slider to even the count at 2-2. Ozuna jumped on the next pitch and sent it sailing directly at Mahle like a missile.
Thankfully for Tyler Mahle, and the Cincinnati Reds, the 27-year-old shielded himself with his mitt and the ball found the webbing. The line out nearly ended Mahle's night, but instead it ended the Braves rally.
While Braves starter Max Fried might be more well-known for his glove than Tyler Mahle, perhaps the Cincinnati hurler is coming for the Atlanta left-hander's title of best fielding pitcher in the National League. Fried won the Gold Glove Award the last two years.