In coaching high school baseball, I emphasize a few things…
- If you put the ball in play, good things happen.
- It’s easy to give up on yourself and on your team when the chips are down, but seriously, that’s baseball. Shit happens, move on.
- Always run until the umpire calls you out.
Generally MLB players don’t NEED to hustle all the time because most plays are going to be made something like 95% of the time. It’s the other 5% of the time that we freak out about a guy not hustling down to first base, and it’s something that Joe Maddon has talked about with his Respect 90 mantra (I’m sure he doesn’t flip his shit when a guy doesn’t run out an understandably routine grounder, though). The Milwaukee Brewers’ Logan Schafer exemplified #1 & #3 above. The Chicago Cubs, on the other hand, were on the receiving end of what can be called, without hyperbole, a beat down, and forgot to move on (at least for today) in showing what not to do re: #2. Check it out:
I did see this play unfold, sort of, as I watched my son play in the park. Via Gameday:
Gonna assume this wasn't Edwin's fault pic.twitter.com/4gjb0gdOLu
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) May 2, 2015
First of all, credit where credit is due: Good on Schafer for running hard out of the box and forcing Starlin Castro to maybe hurry his throw a little bit. Maybe Anthony Rizzo should have dug it out, but it was an error on short all the way so Castro should accept that blame (as he does, since he’s a professional). The problem is that while Anthony Rizzo originally pursued the ball at full speed, he just slowed down because he assumed that Schafer would stop at second base. Obviously that didn’t happen.
COMPOUNDING Rizzo’s error in not checking the runner was the fact that he threw to NOBODY IN PARTICULAR. Kris Bryant decided not to cover third base, but I can’t tell on the replay whether he was looking down or just stood around confused. Castro and Addison Russell were likely going to back up second base in case Rizzo threw there. Were the infielders even talking to each other? That’s something that we stress in high school, gotta have chatter to communicate where the ball is, where the baserunner is, etc.
As a positive, Edwin Jackson pitched well again in relief, and I won’t even call it mop-up as the Cubs were a grand slam away from tying it up (and without hyperbole, with this lineup when it’s not striking out 18 times in the game, more than doable). He didn’t deserve this run (so hopefully Baseball Prospectus weights it accordingly, which I’m sure they will) but does deserve dinner for the next week from each of his infielders for this epic fail.
No. 7,847: Chris Denorfia singles with one out in the FIFTH for the #Cubs. The Streak lives!
— Cubs No-Hit Streak (@CubsNoHitStreak) May 2, 2015
It’s just one loss, though, so nobody is going to get demoted or traded. Probably a day off here and there is needed for a couple guys to clear their heads, but let’s let Joe Maddon handle that, shall we?