Kerry making big splash with Trash Pandas
Trash Pandas fans should want to get to Toyota Field for Brett Kerry’s starts just based on his early season success. They might get to take part in something sudsier too. For the second time in his three home starts this year, a foul ball off a Kerry pitch resulted
Trash Pandas fans should want to get to Toyota Field for
For the second time in his three home starts this year, a foul ball off a Kerry pitch resulted in a fan guzzling a beer, and on the hill, Kerry dazzled with seven dominant innings as Double-A Rocket City blanked Chattanooga, 5-0.
In the top of the second inning Tuesday night, Kerry yielded a foul ball to Chattanooga’s Matt Lloyd that reached a fan on the third-base side. After making “a nice play … beer in hand,” according to the Trash Pandas' broadcast, the woman proceeded to show off her new souvenir and downed said beer. The event occurred on Kerry’s 23rd pitch of the night.
There's a new trend brewing at @trashpandas games...— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) May 4, 2022
🍺 2nd inning
🍺 Brett Kerry pitching
🍺 Foul popup
🍺 Fan catches ball, chugs beer pic.twitter.com/K7r4Ku9b0q
It was remarkably similar to something that happened on April 14, when Kerry twirled five one-hit frames with a dozen strikeouts.
In the top of the second inning, the right-hander -- on his 22nd pitch of the night -- got Pensacola’s Jerar Encarnacion to lift a foul ball behind the plate on the first-base side. It landed in a fan’s beer and the result was the same: a frothy beverage downed in seconds.
Foul ball splashes your beer?— Rocket City Trash Pandas (@trashpandas) April 15, 2022
You know what to do. 🍺 pic.twitter.com/jtxR2uuuQU
The moments have delighted fans and admittedly perplexed the No. 30 Angels prospect.
“Usually we have stuff on our [videoboard] where they’ll be putting up ‘Get loud!’ all this stuff,” Kerry said after Tuesday’s display. “Both times I’ve looked and I’m like, ‘There’s nothing on the board.’ Like I’m wondering to myself, ‘Why are these people screaming so loud right now?’ I’m definitely kind of confused on those. I guess I’m lucky.”
Did Kerry figure it out while he was on the mound?
“No, I didn’t,” he said with a laugh. “I guess I was focused on the next pitch.”
Each time, Kerry continued with his night, finished on a stellar note and learned of Rocket City fans’ special skills postgame.
“The way I found out was just seeing the thing on Twitter and seeing the highlight,” he said.
Beer-soaked baseballs or not, Kerry has been lights-out so far for the Trash Pandas, and the 23-year-old was at his best Tuesday. Over a season-long seven frames, Kerry (1-0) struck out six, allowing just two singles and one walk for the win in his first decision of the campaign. He threw 89 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“It was just my fastball," Kerry said. "I was able to move it around in the zone, move it up, move it down, side to side, and then being able to pair that with my slider whether it was to get some early contact or put a guy away late, those two were working tonight.”
Through five games, the former South Carolina Gamecock sports a 2.52 ERA. Perhaps most impressive has been his command. Kerry has struck out 38 while walking only four in 25 innings, posting an 0.88 WHIP and a .200 average against.
“I feel like I’ve been blessed, but it is definitely something that takes work and time," he said. "I’ve definitely put in hundreds and thousands of hours to my craft. I’d say it’s very mental, as well. You’ve got to have that confidence on the mound. … It’s kind of just going out there having the confidence knowing that you can either beat the hitter in the box or that you can throw the ball to the catcher’s mitt.”
Confidence, success and a newfound ability to find fans unique souvenirs. Perhaps the latter is becoming a new calling card.
“Yeah, exactly,” Kerry said, laughing. “I guess I’m at 67 percent.”
Tyler Maun is a reporter for MiLB.com and co-host of “The Show Before The Show” podcast. You can find him on Twitter @tylermaun.