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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cardinals execute bizarre 5-8 forceout at second base

The ole dropped-bunt-throw-to-center-fielder-covering-second-base. All those drills in practice have finally paid off.

5-8 on a hop is strange.  Really though, something like this should be infield fly rule.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 12, 2014 at 05:09 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, pirates, weird

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   1. bfan Posted: July 12, 2014 at 08:14 AM (#4749341)
Great hustle by the CF. If this is the "Cardinal Way", then bully for them.
   2. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4749345)
If this were Jeter it would be legendary.
   3. Dale Sams Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4749347)
No IF rule on bunts.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4749348)
It's kind of a botched play. The runner on second froze thinking the 3B would catch the popped-up bunt, and the shortstop broke to cover third, so there was an easy force at third. The 3B passed up in order to gamble the Jay would beat the runner on first to the second base bag. Rather than an easy play on the lead runner, they went for the riskier play on the trailing runner.
   5. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4749351)
If this were Jeter it would be legendary.

If only Jeter had been moved to CF.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 12, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4749353)
That is so strange. I think Carpenter saw the hitter stumble out of the box and thought he would be able to turn two but didn't realize/forgot that the play had no one covering second. If the shortstop had been covering second I think the Cards would have turned two.
   7. dave h Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4749364)
He lets it drop, so he's trying to turn two. I would think you would always go to third first, and then generally to second. Then worst case you're on the same spot as if you caught it. Presumably the cf is coming in precisely because there's no one to cover second. Pretty awesome that he's doing that routinely.
   8. bobm Posted: July 12, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4749367)
GIF: Liner goes through -- yes, through -- Eric Hosmer's mitt...

Luckily for the Royals, Omar Infante was in position to back up the play, and Hosmer's mitt was intact enough to receive the throw for a 3-4-3 putout.
   9. JRVJ Posted: July 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4749379)
8, Any idea of how fielding metrics would treat that play?

I ask because I would think that fielding metrics would see Hosmer as "not making" the play - which is probably not the interpretation most human beings would have of that play.
   10. esseff Posted: July 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4749405)
As well as Jay did to get the out at second, it looks as if he could have instead still got the lead runner by immediately throwing to third. The runner freezes near second until the ball sails past.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 12, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4749487)

As well as Jay did to get the out at second, it looks as if he could have instead still got the lead runner by immediately throwing to third. The runner freezes near second until the ball sails past.


That sounds like a good recipe for bases loaded, or worse.

There's no reason for the IF fly - the batting team chose to bunt the ball, if the defense can turn that into two outs, bully for them.

And Jose's interpretation was clearly correct. The third baseman was trying to turn two, but forgot the bag would be uncovered. First should be the toughest place to get the runner since, unlike the baserunners, the bunter had no reason to hesitate. Third to first is possible. Third to second provides the best chance to turn two, provided Jay does what he did.


   12. DKDC Posted: July 12, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4749516)
Edit: wrong thread
   13. stevegamer Posted: July 13, 2014 at 02:00 AM (#4749663)
Clearly a play like the Hosmer play where they don't get out shouldn't be an error, as it's really not his fault the glove failed.

I think metrics would need to treat it as something where he was in the right area, but couldn't make they play, but somehow to not ding him like an error might. Very odd & interesting.
   14. bjhanke Posted: July 13, 2014 at 02:35 AM (#4749665)
Jay hustles because he has to. He has to hit at least .280, because he has no power and doesn't walk that much. He has to hustle because the Cards have a boatload of hot prospects in the minor league outfields, and one of them will eventually come through, whether Oscar Taveras or somebody else. So his window as a starter in STL is small, and in no more than a year he's going to be a backup or on some other team. He needs to make every play he can so that other team will want him enough to trade for him as a starter.

That being said, why was 2B uncovered? The standard on a bunt play with men on 1B and 2B is for either the 3B or the 1B to charge, depending on which side the pitcher falls to. The pitcher covers that side's bunts. So, it should have been something like 3B (Carpenter) charges, SS covers 3B, 2B covers 2B, 1B covers 1B, and the pitcher covers bunts to the 1B side. Or the other way, with the 1B charging, 2B covers 1B, SS covers 2B, 3B covers 3B, and the pitcher covers bunts to the 3B side. I have no idea why the Cards had two infielders fielding bunts unless the play is specifically set up for the CF to cover 2B.

I didn't see this game, and when I read the title of this thread, I thought that what must have happened was that there was a shift on for a righty power hitter, who hit a popup to the 3B side of 2B, and the 3B, the SS, the 2B and the CF all took off after it. When it dropped and bounced nearest to the 3B, the CF was the only player heading in the direction of 2B, so he took the play. That it was a bunt was a big surprise.

As for why taking the play at 2B instead of 3B - Carpenter can't see the runner heading to 3B. He's facing directly away from the bag. He'd have to turn around, which would put him out of position to make a throw to 2B. But he can see, with peripheral vision or a quick neck turn, the play at 2B. Turning around to see if the 3B play is there risks taking too much time to make a play anywhere. I agree with the 2B decision. - Brock Hanke
   15. Walt Davis Posted: July 13, 2014 at 02:49 AM (#4749667)
Not that one play matters, but I'd assume the metrics would treat it like any similar player where the ball glances off the 1B glove to the 2B who throws the runner out. I have no idea how they treat those plays. It might be best to not count such plays. For example, the play may look like a normal one for the 2B on paper (he fields the ball in an "easy" zone) when in fact he may have had to make a very nice play to change direction.
   16. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 13, 2014 at 02:59 AM (#4749669)
As for why taking the play at 2B instead of 3B - Carpenter can't see the runner heading to 3B. He's facing directly away from the bag. He'd have to turn around, which would put him out of position to make a throw to 2B. But he can see, with peripheral vision or a quick neck turn, the play at 2B. Turning around to see if the 3B play is there risks taking too much time to make a play anywhere. I agree with the 2B decision. - Brock Hanke


I disagree completely. Taking the out at second means the likely result (one out at second), runners on first and third, is worse than if he'd simply caught the ball (Remember: unlike the other runners, the batter has no reason to hesitate, and thus the second out at first is by no means guaranteed). The best way to turn that play into a DP, the entire reason you let the ball drop, is to go to third with the throw. And the worst case scenario if you don't get the DP is the exact same situation if you caught it.

Carpenter had to know he had an easy forceout at third (since the runner at second had to expect that he would catch the bunt), and as it's a shorter throw, would give the covering shortstop an option to get the other out at second (if Jay covers) or first, if the runner is slow. The throw to second simply makes no sense - it's a longer throw, and, obviously, there was no one there.

Whether there should have been somewhere there is a question for Matheny, but it isn't as if Carpenter couldn't see that the first baseman was also charging. He made a smart decision to let the ball drop, and a lousy one to simply chuck it to an unoccupied second base.
   17. Squash Posted: July 13, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4749690)
The most bizarre thing to me is the one-hop throw to Jay. That looks like a slip to me more than anything.

Re: second base being uncovered, I bet he was thinking that since it was popped up the guys who were going to go cover would freeze and go back to their bags, so there would be someone at second. Which is what they should have done, actually.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: July 13, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4749737)
That being said, why was 2B uncovered? The standard on a bunt play with men on 1B and 2B is for either the 3B or the 1B to charge, depending on which side the pitcher falls to. The pitcher covers that side's bunts. So, it should have been something like 3B (Carpenter) charges, SS covers 3B, 2B covers 2B, 1B covers 1B, and the pitcher covers bunts to the 1B side. Or the other way, with the 1B charging, 2B covers 1B, SS covers 2B, 3B covers 3B, and the pitcher covers bunts to the 3B side. I have no idea why the Cards had two infielders fielding bunts unless the play is specifically set up for the CF to cover 2B.


In this particular case the play was first and third charge in, second covers first, short covers third. Carpenter made a mistake and forgot which play was on. He threw without looking. Jay saw what was happening and reacted. If Carpenter would have remembered the proper play he would have thrown to the shortstop covering third and gotten the lead runner. He made a heads up play to allow the ball to drop, then main a dumb play by forgetting who was covering where.

The most bizarre thing to me is the one-hop throw to Jay. That looks like a slip to me more than anything.


I was thinking he tried to stop the throw after he was in motion and wasn't able to.
   19. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 13, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4749793)
Re: second base being uncovered, I bet he was thinking that since it was popped up the guys who were going to go cover would freeze and go back to their bags, so there would be someone at second. Which is what they should have done, actually.


It's possible one of Carpenter or the first baseman weren't supposed to charge. It's also possible, as CFB notes, that on that specific coverage second base goes uncovered. In general, you're either trying to get the lead runner or you take the out at first, so leaving second uncovered would be a necessary evil if both corners are coming in (barring a heads up play by your centerfielder, which the Cards got).
   20. bjhanke Posted: July 14, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4750342)
SoSH - What puzzles me is that I've always been taught, and heard, that this play always involves one corner infielder charging and the pitcher covering the other side. All the scenarios I've seen here and elsewhere ignore the pitcher. If you check my breakdown several comments ago, you'll see that I involve the pitcher in all scenarios except the popup. All the alternatives I've seen, including here, ignore him. That's what I don't get. What was the pitcher doing while all this was going on? He's either supposed to cover the 1B side or the 3B side, leaving that infielder able to stay on his bag. What I'm trying to figure out is how that didn't happen - how the pitcher just disappeared from the play. Unfortunately, I'm lacking a clip of the play, so I can't look it up for myself. I was hoping that someone here had seen the play and could tell me what happened to the pitcher. He's the key. I've never heard of a bunt converge that leaves a base unguarded, but then, I've never seen a bunt play where the pitcher has no assignment. Just because I've never seen it before, I'm now obsessively confused. - Brock
   21. dave h Posted: July 14, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4750456)
They have the wheel play on here (although the 1B doesn't charge that aggressively). Both corner infielders charge to maximize the chances of getting the lead runner. I don't know the game situation, and therefore how valuable getting the lead runner would be, but the batter (pitcher?) was squaring very early so that may be why they were both charging.
   22. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 14, 2014 at 11:19 PM (#4750464)

SoSH - What puzzles me is that I've always been taught, and heard, that this play always involves one corner infielder charging and the pitcher covering the other side. All the scenarios I've seen here and elsewhere ignore the pitcher. If you check my breakdown several comments ago, you'll see that I involve the pitcher in all scenarios except the popup. All the alternatives I've seen, including here, ignore him. That's what I don't get. What was the pitcher doing while all this was going on? He's either supposed to cover the 1B side or the 3B side, leaving that infielder able to stay on his bag. What I'm trying to figure out is how that didn't happen - how the pitcher just disappeared from the play. Unfortunately, I'm lacking a clip of the play, so I can't look it up for myself. I was hoping that someone here had seen the play and could tell me what happened to the pitcher. He's the key. I've never heard of a bunt converge that leaves a base unguarded, but then, I've never seen a bunt play where the pitcher has no assignment. Just because I've never seen it before, I'm now obsessively confused. - Brock


dave h has this. Obviously there are different scenarios, but it's certainly possible to have both guys charging (and presumably, the pitcher fielding anything bunted straight back up the middle). As for second being uncovered, it's really not that significant. In virtually every instance, the defensive team is either going to get the lead runner at third or take the safe out at first. Second is a longer throw that, in general, accomplishes little. And, in fact, even in this unusual situation, it would have been a poor decision to throw to second even if a Cardinal was standing there waiting on the throw, as it reduced the chances of turning two while also giving the offensive team a better situation if only one out was recorded than if Carpenter had simply caught the ball.


   23. bjhanke Posted: July 15, 2014 at 01:08 AM (#4750490)
dave and SoSH - Thanks, guys. I've heard the term "wheel play" before, but didn't know what it actually meant. I also didn't know that there were bunt plays where the pitcher didn't have responsibility for fielding bunts on one side of the infield. How I managed to be a baseball fan this long and not know these things is its own curiosity, but I didn't. Thanks. I now know what a "wheel play" is, and why you might have a bunt play where the pitcher's job is just to field bunts, or maybe swinging bunts, up the middle. The 5-8 play makes more sense now, including that Jay may have been coming in towards the play as son as the ball was hit, knowing that there would be no one covering second. - Brock
   24. dave h Posted: July 15, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4750538)
It's a pretty crazy play for the middle IF - the 2B needs to be dogging the runner so he can't lead off too much, and then has to sprint to 1B to cover the bag. Meanwhile the SS contributes to keeping the runner close, and then has to beat him to 3rd for either the bunt or steal.

All three outfielders should be charging in on the play - LF and RF to back up third and first respectively (since a throw that gets away is disastrous in this case - 2 or 3 runs) - and CF to cover second. I'm curious how many teams would have all 9 players doing their job there.

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