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Monday, October 26, 2020

‘Home, home, home!’ How Dodgers foiled Manuel Margot’s stealing home gamble

The Rays did not give Margot a sign to steal. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash did not support the play as a high-stakes element of surprise.

“Not so much the element of surprise,” Cash said. “We encourage making intelligent baseball decisions, and if Manny felt he had the opportunity to score ... then we should support it.”

Cash parried the suggestion that, in a perfect world, Renfroe would have taken off from first base, giving Margot a better chance to steal.

“No,” Cash said. “In a perfect world, he’s safe.”

The last man to steal home in the World Series? The Angels’ Brad Fullmer in the first inning of Game 2 of the 2002 World Series as part of a double steal.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 11:11 AM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, rays

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   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 26, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5985456)
I was wondering if the small crowd made it easier for the Dodgers to alert Kershaw.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 26, 2020 at 12:09 PM (#5985461)
I love the attempt by Manny. He was barely out, despite a quick reaction (and subpar throw) from Kershaw.

He probably had a higher chance on the steal attempt than he did scoring otherwise (~30%?).


   3. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:18 PM (#5985475)
Yeah, I thought it was the right play. He read it, got a good jump, the Dodgers just executed well. It's very easy for the pitcher to mess that up. On Opening Day last year the Blue Jays stole home against Sale and what Sale did was coolly and calmly fire the ball to the backstop.
   4. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5985479)
Not a bad play, but I don't think it was a close play at all. Barnes kind of held back and waited for Margot to arrive. Even if the ball had arrived later I think Barnes could have done a swipe tag and still got him. The ball beats him by a lot.

Take a look at :21 when the ball arrives and :23 for when Barnes gets his glove down here.
   5. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5985485)
In the post-game interview Kershaw immediately brought up another case when Carlos Gomez tried to steal home against him and failed (fact check: true, it happened in 2015). But apparently this was only the 3rd time it had even been attempted in Kershaw's 13-year career?

Very very close. I would have loved to see it succeed.
   6. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5985486)
I just put this in the omnichatter thread, but it seems to fit better here:

There was a lot of talk about avoiding a balk, but since he's throwing home, what's to stop him from just delivering a pitch?

Another thought: what happens if he does step off, and so doesn't deliver a pitch, but the batter swings and hits it anyway?
   7. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5985490)
There was a lot of talk about avoiding a balk, but since he's throwing home, what's to stop him from just delivering a pitch?


Nothing at all. But typically because of the length of time a pitcher's wind up takes that results in the runner being safe.

Another thought: what happens if he does step off, and so doesn't deliver a pitch, but the batter swings and hits it anyway?


I assume that would be interference. Basically it's the same thing as if a batter intentionally stuck his bat out to block a throw to second base on a steal (as opposed to the batter just getting ready and the catcher hitting the batter's bat accidentally as in the Shin-Soo Choo play in the bat flip game).
   8. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 02:26 PM (#5985504)
There was a lot of talk about avoiding a balk, but since he's throwing home, what's to stop him from just delivering a pitch?


I'm not a balk expert, but I imagine the reason Margot thought he could get there is because of the specific mechanics of Kershaw's stretch. Margot broke when Kershaw was just starting his motion of bringing his hands high above him. Normally, Kershaw would then bring his hands down to come to the set position, at which point, by rule, he has to pause. If Kershaw had thrown a pitch from the position he was in, I imagine it would have been a balk since he hadn't come set yet and couldn't legally deliver a pitch.

The play was electrifying, and I thought it was a great attempt by Margot. Even though I'm rooting for the Dodgers, I would have loved to see that play succeed, just for the sake of baseball history. But I was most impressed by Kershaw's presence of mind and physical discipline. He's in the middle of his exaggerated stretch, hasn't come set yet, and 20 guys start yelling at him at once to throw home. This is not something that normally happens and Kershaw can't see the runner; it would be so easy to panic and just throw the ball without disengaging from the rubber. But he steps off, quickly makes a decent enough throw, and gets the runner without balking. That was really impressive.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: October 26, 2020 at 02:32 PM (#5985507)
The play was electrifying, and I thought it was a great attempt by Margot. Even though I'm rooting for the Dodgers, I would have loved to see that play succeed, just for the sake of baseball history. But I was most impressed by Kershaw's presence of mind and physical discipline. He's in the middle of his exaggerated stretch, hasn't come set yet, and 20 guys start yelling at him at once to throw home. This is not something that normally happens and Kershaw can't see the runner; it would be so easy to panic and just throw the ball without disengaging from the rubber. But he steps off, quickly makes a decent enough throw, and gets the runner without balking. That was really impressive.


I would imagine, given the deliberate nature of his motion from the stretch, Kershaw was faced with this scenario many, many times while growing up playing ball (involving runners at both second and third), and thus simply stepping off immediately is just second nature.

   10. The Duke Posted: October 26, 2020 at 03:43 PM (#5985523)
Kershaw was saved by the lack of crowd noise - in a loud, full stadium Margot beats that throw OR in a loud full stadium the batter doesn’t hear the yelling and swings and hits Margot with his swing in which case he might score and be decapitated
   11. BillWallace Posted: October 26, 2020 at 06:42 PM (#5985571)
I'm also in the camp that it was a great attempt and it required nearly perfect execution to beat.
   12. Bob T Posted: October 26, 2020 at 07:15 PM (#5985578)
If Kiermaier had swung at Kershaw's throw home, it would have been batter interference for hindering Barnes' attempt to make a fielding play. Margot would have been called out.

The issue Barnes had to deal with was making sure that there was no interference on his part in blocking the plate.

My favorite steal of home was Marquis Grissom in the 1997 ALCS, Game 3. Grissom broke for home on a squeeze. Vizquel was batting and missed and Lenny Webster couldn't grab the ball (which he thought had been fouled off) and Grissom just jogged in. Webster and Davey Johnson argued a lot. Then a lot of people thought it should have been a passed ball, but since Grissom was already running, it was a steal of home.

Many things in 1997 didn't go well for the Orioles in that series.
   13. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 26, 2020 at 07:26 PM (#5985581)
That was just a great baseball play all around. I've seen more daring attempts on the bases this World Series than in the whole 60-game regular season combined.
   14. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 08:05 PM (#5985588)
That was just a great baseball play all around. I've seen more daring attempts on the bases this World Series than in the whole 60-game regular season combined.


I'm encouraged by the fact that these attempts are still being made, although I'd like a few more of them to be successful so that they continue to be part of that game in the future.
   15. BDC Posted: October 26, 2020 at 08:51 PM (#5985590)
Unless I'm forgetting something, I think the only steal of home I ever saw in person was in a playoff game: Game Two, 2010 ALCS, Elvis Andrus on the front end of a double steal that involved Josh Hamilton. I think I have only seen one straight steal of home on television, even: Cecil Espy, I forget when.
   16. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: October 26, 2020 at 09:25 PM (#5985592)
You could give me 10,000 guesses as to the last player to steal home in the World Series and I wouldn't come up with Brad Fullmer.
   17. baxter Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:28 AM (#5985613)
When was last straight steal of home in WS? There must be one since Robinson against the Yanks (1955?)

Looking it up; was Robinson; Monte Irvin, 1951, Cobb and a couple other players.

That would have been historic and Margot was close. I like it for the excitement, but not for the giving up the out.
   18. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 27, 2020 at 08:09 AM (#5985619)
I was at Fenway the first time Billy Hatcher stole home. I swear I think the next inning and a half was completely missed as my friends and I just kept saying "did that really happen? Billy Hatcher stole home!"
   19. Rally Posted: October 27, 2020 at 09:06 AM (#5985625)
You could give me 10,000 guesses as to the last player to steal home in the World Series and I wouldn't come up with Brad Fullmer.


Me either. As an Angels fan I was of course watching every second of every game in that series. The scoresheets I made from it are within reaching distance (last time I scored a WS game). And I still don't remember that play.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2020 at 09:21 AM (#5985629)
In everyone's defense, it was about as unmemorable a steal of home as you could possibly imagine. Looking at the video, the Angels had speed merchants at the corners, Spezio and Fullmer. Spezio took off for second, Benito Santiago caught the pitch off of a bounce and made an ill-advised high throw to second that Kent had to leap to catch. Fullmer scored without a throw home.
   21. bunyon Posted: October 27, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5985633)
I get the bookkeeping but stealing home as part of a double steal shouldn't count.

"Stealing home" is what Margot tried to do. What Robinson did.

Watching it, it seemed amazingly daring. Thinking about it and watching Kershaw's stretch, I'm left wondering why runners on third don't always steal home on him.
   22. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:26 AM (#5985663)
Watching it, it seemed amazingly daring. Thinking about it and watching Kershaw's stretch, I'm left wondering why runners on third don't always steal home on him.
1) Not that many runners make it third base against Kershaw
2) The last two who have tried to steal home against Kershaw have failed
   23. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5985665)
I wonder if runners would have more success if he waited until the moment Kershaw's hands dropped from the high hold position.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5985667)
Wow, a double post.
   25. bunyon Posted: October 27, 2020 at 11:50 AM (#5985670)
22: Tom, I get that it's still really, really hard. But Kershaw does seem very susceptible. A lot more than most. Given that, the attempt doesn't seem quite as daring. Really fun to watch, but if you were a base stealer asked to design a pitcher against whom you'd steal home, you'd probably design Kershaw's stretch.

I also agree with those saying it shows he isn't a choker.
   26. Perry Posted: October 27, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5985678)
When was last straight steal of home in WS? There must be one since Robinson against the Yanks (1955?)

Looking it up; was Robinson; Monte Irvin, 1951, Cobb and a couple other players.


Lonnie Smith did it against the Brewers and Don Sutton in 1982 Game 6. Unfortunately the ump mistakenly called him out, as the replays clearly showed. Cards won 13-1 so it didn't matter.
   27. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:21 PM (#5985683)
Good one, Perry! Thanks.
   28. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 27, 2020 at 02:26 PM (#5985704)
Margot broke when Kershaw was just starting his motion of bringing his hands high above him. Normally, Kershaw would then bring his hands down to come to the set position, at which point, by rule, he has to pause. If Kershaw had thrown a pitch from the position he was in, I imagine it would have been a balk since he hadn't come set yet and couldn't legally deliver a pitch.


I never quite got the reason (if there is one) for the required pause when pitching from the stretch.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5985729)
I don't think I've ever seen a steal of home live (a real one at least) but I've seen plenty on TV ... not that I can remember many specifically and probably a lot were on highlight shows that my brain has confused with a game actually watched.

But the one I'll always remember (even when I get the details wrong) ... Cubs' triple steal (check the pbp t 9).

Leading 1-0 in the 8th at StL, the Cubs bring in Lee Smith for a 2-inning save. Jim Frey, apparently napping, doesn't think that maybe a double-switch replacing Keith Moreland in RF might be called for. Top 9 still up 1-0, Durham doubles, gets moved to 3rd but still there with two outs. Cards intentionally walk Jody and Bowa to get to Smith.

2 outs, bases loaded, pitcher who is about 2-40 lifetime at the plate -- why wouldn't you? Durham wasn't the fastest guy but he had good speed in those days. My memory (quite possibly wrong) is that Andujar used his windup which made it doubly obvious. Perhaps a bit surprising the trailing runners went too -- it's not likely but no reason there to clog things up in case he gets caught in a rundown.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: October 27, 2020 at 04:38 PM (#5985734)
FWIW, Javy Baez is credited as 3 for 4 in stealing home. He only has 63 career steals so nearly 5% are of home which seems awfully high -- maybe even higher than Brad Fullmer's rate! Javy has a 4th (actually his first) in the playoffs in 2016.

Of course now I have to see how many are Javy Javying. All are on youtube (with the most obnoxious intros). The playoff one was an attempted safety squeeze but he got too far off the bag, catcher threw to 3B so Javy took off and amde it.

Another Cubs 1st and 3rd, pitcher makes a half-assed pickoff throw to 1B, Javy takes off then Javies the slide. The next one in the queue was the same play but Javy got a better jump and easily beat the throw home. That's one where he had signalled to Contreras to take a big lead to draw a throw so total Javying. Oops, 4th video not there but apparently was another busted safety squeeze.

So none are a straight steal but the one against the Mets where he orchestrated it was in a scoreless game so extra cojones points for that one.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: October 27, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5985740)
Perhaps a bit surprising the trailing runners went too -- it's not likely but no reason there to clog things up in case he gets caught in a rundown.


Unlike with Phillips the other night, there was a benefit to the trail runners moving up one base.
   32. TJ Posted: October 28, 2020 at 08:45 AM (#5986041)
I had a pitching coach tell me that, if someone tried to steal home against me with a left handed hitter up, I should do exactly what Kershaw did- stay calm, step off and make a good throw home.

When. I asked my coach what I should do if the hitter was right handed, my coach said to knock him on ass and turn him into a roadblock.

Colorful guy, that pitching coach. He also taught me how to make a scuffed ball dance. Thing is he was a stickler for the rules. He never advocated purposefully hitting someone, and wouldn’t show me how to scuff the ball myself. But, if someone DID try to steal home against me or someone DID give me a scuffed ball, well, I should know what to do...

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