I was watching the White Sox and Royals game and a couple of plays caught my attention. One of the plays should not happen in a major league game. The other was a repeat of a play in the post season of 2012 between the Cardinals and the Giants.
The first situation had Alex Rios on third base with less than two outs. Jeff Keppinger is the batter and he hits a hard sinking line drive in front of the Royals right fielder David Lough. He comes dashing in and dives and makes a great catch and is rolling around on the ground afterwards. Then he gets up and throws the ball to home plate, and to my astonishment Rios never tagged up on this play and did not score. I was shocked as was the announcers because this shouldn’t happen in high school ball.
Rios was half way down the line and didn’t have time to get back and tag up to score. What needs to be understood is the ball was deep enough if the ball is caught the runner has to be tagging up or very close to the bag.
The only time there can be some confusion is on shallow pop ups to the outfield. In these situations there is a need to give this some practice time. A good rule of thumb is if the outfielder is coming in and he catches the ball. His motion is coming towards home plate and there is a chance that the runner will not be able to tag up and score. It is a different story if the infielder is running out to catch the pop up. His motion is going out to the outfield and he has to stop and plant and then make his throw. There is a real good chance of scoring on this play.
The next play had Adam Dunn on first base with less than two outs. There was a ground ball hit to the left side and the Royals attempted to turn the double play. Dunn is running hard and slides over the bag and nails Chris Getz, and he breaks up the double play. Getz got barreled into pretty good and shakes it off. The announcers call it a good all out play by Adam Dunn to break up the double play. I agree that it was a very good all out hustling play by Dunn!
My point is this was no different than what happened in the playoffs in 2012 between the Giants and the Cardinals. Matt Holiday was on first and a grounder was hit to the left side and the Giants attempted to turn the double play. Holiday did the same as Dunn and barreled over Marco Scutaro. A large number of the press was all over Holiday, but it was his responsibility to break up the double play. In this situation the runner on first is all geared up and saying to himself, that they will not turn two with me running!
My next point is the players take care of issues like this on the diamond. I am not sure but I think Holiday got hit by a pitch in the series to even things up. Guess what that is baseball!