Chess Match: Game 122
The situation: With the score caught in a 4-4 deadlock, Travis Snider opens the 10th inning with an infield single and he takes second base on an error on the play. Fred Lewis follows by hitting a hard grounder to Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.
The decision: Snider sprints toward third base.
The outcome: Scutaro gloves the ground and quickly fires the ball to third baseman Adrian Beltre, catching Snider in a costly run down. Snider attempts to hustle back to second base, but he is easily thrown out on the play. One batter later, Yunel Escobar grounds into an inning-ending double play. Boston wins it in the 11th with a homer from Jed Lowrie.
The analysis: At first glance, it’s hard to blame Snider for running to third base. The ball was hit to his left and, as we were all taught in Little League, you run on that type of play. This was a slightly different case, though.
Scutaro was playing behind Snider at second base, trying to hold him as close to the base as possible, considering Beltre was protecting against a potential bunt down the third-base line. The ball was also hit hard by Lewis, giving Scutaro plenty of time to get the ball quickly and retire Snider at third base.
“You hold on that ball. You don’t go there. He’s the potential winning run. You want to get three shots at it. He just made a mistake. I know he feels as bas as anyone else here tonight. Hopefully he learns from it.” — Gaston
“I take full responsibility for what happened in that inning. … I was too aggressive. It was a mistake on my part, not being aware of where Scutaro was playing and understanding that’s not a ball you can advance on, especially as well as Freddy hit that. It’s something to put in the memory bank and learn from and hopefully I’ll build off of it.” — Snider
My verdict: Again, at first, it was hard to fault Snider for what essentially is a reactionary decision — one made with only a split second to choose between retreating and advancing. After talking the play over with Gaston, Snider and third base coach Brian Butterfield after the game, it became clear that Snider should have immediately sprinted back to second base, and not to third.
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