The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
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Oh, brother! 2022 was a banner season for baseball siblings

2022 was a good year for major-league brothers to share the baseball diamond. All too often they don’t get to play with or against each other when growing up or perhaps later in college, because they are separated by age or schools they attend. But once both brothers have signed major-league contracts, they begin to dream about eventually playing on the same field at the same time, whether as teammates or opponents.

Then when it actually happens, the brothers relish the moment because they realize it’s a rare occurrence. Their feat often comes with the notoriety of being part of a small group of players in baseball history who have done the same.

Below are highlights of brotherly activity during the 2022 season.

Identical twin brothers Taylor and Tyler Rogers played against each other on April 11, when Tyler’s San Francisco Giants opposed Taylor’s San Diego Padres. They are both pitchers and are mirror images of each other—Taylor pitches left-handed, while Tyler is right-handed. Tyler entered the game in the sixth inning with the score tied, 2-2. He gave up two hits and a run in his one-inning outing. Taylor pitched the ninth and recorded his third save of the season. Tyler was credited with the loss. The game was the first time they had shared a field since they were in high school. In 2019 they became only the tenth set of twins to play in the majors.

Brothers Aaron and Austin Nola faced other as batter versus pitcher for the first time in 2021. Phillies pitcher Aaron had the better day then, allowing Padres catcher Austin only a walk in three at-bats. On June 24, 2022, they battled against each again, but this time Austin knocked in game-winning run off his brother with a single in the sixth inning. Aaron managed to strike out his brother once, in collecting 10 for the game, but he took the loss in the 1-0 game. The only other time they had ever faced each other was in a practice game while they were both at LSU.

In a rare occurrence in an MLB All-Star Game, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and his brother, William Contreras of the Atlanta Braves, were in the starting lineup for the National League team. William started as the designated hitter and hit behind his brother in the batting order. Only four other sets of brothers have started in the same All-Star game. They include Mort and Walker Cooper, Dixie and Harry Walker, Joe and Dominic DiMaggio, and Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr. The Contreras brothers are natives of Venezuela, where they used to dream about being big leaguers. Willson said, “Man, I think we’re blessed. I can say a lot of things, but there’s not a specific word to describe how I feel and how my family feels.”

New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz and his brother, Cincinnati Reds rookie reliever Alex Diaz exchanged the lineup cards for their respective teams at home plate before their game on August 9 at Citi Field. However, neither of them appeared in the game. Mets manager Buck Showalter said, “That’s a great moment for their family. Can you imagine how proud they are?” Earlier in May, the Diaz brothers became only the third set of major-league brothers to record a save on the same day.

On September 8, brothers Jason and Scott Alexander exchanged the lineup cards for their teams (Brewers and Giants, respectively) before the first game of a doubleheader at American Family Field in Milwaukee. Scott pitched a scoreless inning for the Giants in the first game, but Jason didn’t get called on in either game. But it was a special moment for them in any case. “This will probably go down as one of my favorite moments in baseball,” said Jason, who is four years younger than Scott. It was the first time they had shared a field together at any level.

Bo Naylor made his major-league debut with the Cleveland Guardians on October 1, as he joined his brother Josh on the team. Josh was the starter at first base, while Bo entered the game in the sixth inning, replacing Luke Maile as catcher. Both brothers were hitless for the day as the Kansas City Royals won, 7-1. The brothers batted back-to-back in the lineup the next day in a Guardians win. Josh is playing his first full season in the majors after having made his own debut in 2019. Bo was a first-round pick of the Guardians in 2018.

On the last day of the season, Houston Astros reliever Phil Maton faced his brother Nick in the eighth inning of the Astros’ 3-2 win. It was the first time they had faced each other in a game at any level, since Phil was four years older than Nick. Nick got the best of his brother when he singled into right field off a 91 mph fastball. An infielder, Nick is in his second big-league season with the Philadelphia Phillies. Phil is the veteran of the brothers, pitching in his sixth major-league season. “It was super exciting,” Nick said about their confrontation. “I just wanted to treat it as another at-bat. Once I got up there, it definitely wasn’t like that. It felt like were in the backyard. Just seeing him out there was pretty fun.”

On July 1, the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers featured a matchup of brothers--sort of. Blue Jays pitcher Jose Berrios faced his brother-in-law Javier Baez with the Tigers. Baez claimed bragging rights over Berrios that day by hitting an opposite field home run in the fourth inning. But it was the Tigers’ only run of the day, as Toronto won the game, 4-1. Berrios said, “When he hit the homer, I didn’t want to see his face because I didn’t want to be laughing, and that wouldn’t look good on the mound.” They had faced each other twice before, with Berrios having the edge by holding Baez hitless in five at-bats. The two Puerto Rican players are married to sisters.

This last set of brothers aren’t players yet have a strong connection with the game, nonetheless. When someone mentions the name “Caray” it usually evokes the memory of the three generations of major-league broadcasters—Harry, Skip, and Chip. Now, the fourth generation is in the works for twin brothers Chris and Stefan Caray. They are the sons of current Braves broadcaster Chip Caray. They both broadcasted games in 2022 for the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We want to create our own style,” Stefan said. “That way, we’re not Chip 2.0 or Skip 2.0 or Harry 2.0. We want to be independent of our family’s legacy while also continuing it in a way that is unique.” Perhaps one day they’ll be behind the mike together for a major-league team.

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