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Sunday, October 31, 2021

How two balls hit to left field put the Atlanta Braves one win from a World Series title

A lot happened in left field at Truist Park in Game 4, and Rosario’s catch was only half of the story. Yordan Alvarez attracted attention for failing to make a catch that was ridiculously difficult but still possible. After Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson hit a solo homer in the seventh to tie the score at 2, pinch-hitter Jorge Soler followed with a 107-mph warhead that hung in the air for 3.8 seconds, long enough for Alvarez to travel 59 feet—at a clip of 22.9 feet per second, for those counting—and get within a glove string of a catch that would have preserved the tie. Alvarez threw his arm above the wall a split-second after the ball had passed, and then he hung over the wall by his left underarm just long enough to make it seem possible he might stick there.

When he returned to the ground, he stayed there. The crowd spontaneously combusted in outright delirium. Soler raised a fist as he floated around the bases, and it seemed as if Alvarez’s immobility was merely frustration. Shortstop Carlos Correa, the closest Astro to Alvarez, immediately ran toward his teammate, along with the Astros trainer.

“I was very worried, very worried,” Correa said. “When I saw him, I made sure to get out to him and translate for him and thank God he’s fine.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 31, 2021 at 11:04 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, braves

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: October 31, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6050382)
He hit that wall hard, I'm not surprised he was shaken up. In real time I didn't think he'd come close to the ball but he did. I suppose a "real" LF might have been able to make the play. Statcast puts (for example) Arozarena's sprint speed at 2 ft/sec faster than Alvarez's; O'Neill has a 3 ft/sec edge. Anyway, the lack of a miracle play isn't why the Astros are on the verge of losing and Alvarez ain't out there for his glove.
   2. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 31, 2021 at 08:20 PM (#6050400)
I looked at on replay a couple times and it looks like he should have made the catch. Whats the consensus on that?
   3. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 31, 2021 at 08:50 PM (#6050407)
I'd say definitely catchable for a left fielder. Surprised Yordan was still in the game.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Sultan Posted: October 31, 2021 at 09:22 PM (#6050419)
Catchable yes, “should have been caught?” I wouldn’t go that far.
   5. and Posted: October 31, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6050422)
If he’d caught that ball it would go down as one of the greatest catches in history (given the circumstances). “Should have been caught.”? No way. Possible.

   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 01, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6050557)
No way it "should" have been caught. It's a tough play without the wall there, the wall makes it very difficult. It's one thing if the ball is hanging in the air, you get to find the wall, then jump for the catch. Snaring a rocket while running full speed into a wall? I'm not sure he'd be able to hold onto it after slamming into the wall even if he'd gotten it in the glove. As I mentioned, in real time I thought he'd missed it by a few feet and my reaction was "that was stupid" because he clearly risked injury. When I say a "real" Lf might have been able to make the play, I mean as in a faster guy maybe gets to the wall in time to time his leap to minimize the impact of the wall.

Using statcast sprint speed (which is actually baserunning) as an indicator, O'Neill was the fastest starting LF, Arozarena also high, that's why I chose them. So sure, at an extra 2-3 feet per second, they're at the wall like a quarter-second before Alvarez and have a shot. I'll also assume that, given his size, Alvarez doesn't have the biggest vertical jump. So if by "should have" we mean the best LFs might have had a 50/50 shot at it -- OK. Whether Alvarez should have still been in the game is a legit question ... but given Dusty can't be bothered to PH for Maldonado (which worked out fine last night), I'm not sure we can expect early defensive replacements.
   7. base ball chick Posted: November 01, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6050586)

alvarez is barely competent as a LF. if all you can say about his fielding is that he is better than mike lamb was, this is not a compliment. Siri, mccormick or meyer had a good chance. brantley can't run that fast and i don't think he would have had a 50-50 chance to get that ball

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