Tom Verducci revealed on the broadcast of Game 2 of the World Series that Astros catcher Martin Maldonado used fresh bats for Game 1 that had been given to him by recently retired and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols.
After Game 1 of the WS on Friday, Major League Baseball ordered Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado to stop using an illegal maple bat, according to the New York Post. The maple bat Maldonado used is more likely to splinter into numerous pieces. Hence it was deemed unsafe and not for competitive reasons that the bat was banned.
According to a source, Maldonado had contacted Pujols before the Fall Classic to request a few of his bats, and Pujols complied by sending a dozen his way. In Houston’s 6-5 loss in Game 1, Maldonado used them, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single.
There is a caveat, though: The bats were forbidden. On the broadcast, Verducci stated that the type of bats Pujols used had been outlawed in 2010. But a grandfather provision permitted Pujols to keep using them because he had been doing so before they were banned. Naturally, Maldonado, who made his debut in 2011, was not accorded the same privilege.
Albert Pujols, Maldonado’s former teammate with the 2017–18 Los Angeles Angels, gave him the illegal maple bats. For players who began their careers before 2011, Pujols, these maple bats were grandfathered in, but not those who were promoted after the rule change, like Maldonado, who made his big league debut in September 2011. Despite newer regulations and requirements, maple bats are still utilized throughout the league.
It is unknown if Maldonado utilized the forbidden maple bats in earlier postseason contests. In the losing Game 1, he batted just 1 for three while scoring one run. Maldonado has a.235 playoff batting average going into Game 2 of the WS on Saturday.
Maldonado, a catcher who prioritizes defense, hit.186/.248/.352 with 15 home runs during the regular season. His contributions to the pitching staff are so highly regarded that Christian Vázquez, added via trade deadline, has been given backup duties this October.
It’s intriguing to consider how this story may have developed if the Astros had won Game 1 with Maldonado contributing offensively, as he did, or if Maldonado had received a greater hit that propelled Houston to victory.
MLB informed Maldonado on Saturday that Pujols’ bats from Game 1 were illegal, and he once more started Game 2 in the ninth hole, returning to his old, legal lumber.
Maldonado utilized a different bat in his win over Philadelphia in Game 2 on Saturday.
If his involvement in Game 2 is any indicator, it doesn’t appear likely to lead to a suspension during the World Series. Maldonado’s knowledge of the bats’ illegality is currently unknown, but at the very least, Phillies supporters looking for new reasons to jeer the Astros for their penchant for following the rules now have something to shout about.