Connect with us

MLB

‘Just a bad read on my part’ — Chris Taylor’s baserunning blunder added to Dodgers’ downfall in NLCS opener

Published

on

Cody Bellinger produced a hit against an opposing left-handed pitcher only 12% of the time this season. But in the ninth inning on Saturday night, against the closer for a team that won its division, Bellinger came up with the line-drive single that would place the go-ahead run in scoring position. It seemed as if the Los Angeles Dodgers were meant to finally break through, as they had in two prior ninth innings already this postseason.

But then Chris Taylor got indecisive.

“I tried to stop,” he said. “I should’ve kept going.”

Taylor interrupted his sprint just before reaching the halfway point between second and third base and was tagged out after a brief rundown, ending the half-inning and thwarting one of few chances the Dodgers had to tack on runs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Austin Riley delivered the walk-off hit off Blake Treinen the next half-inning, sending the Braves into a 3-2 victory from an exhilarated Truist Park.

Moments before scoring the winning run — set up by a shallow flare and a steal of second — Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies was shaded towards shallow right field and came just shy of making a leaping catch on Bellinger’s liner.

“To be honest with you, I thought he was going to be at third already once I jumped and the ball went over my head,” Albies said. “When I turned around and I saw him halfway and he stopped, I said, ‘OK, we got him.'”

Braves right fielder Joc Pederson charged in hard and short-hopped a throw into shortstop Dansby Swanson, who immediately looked to first wondering if Bellinger had crept too far off first base. When he turned, he saw Taylor caught in the middle. Swanson threw to Riley, then got the baseball back and quickly applied the tag.

Taylor tried desperately to spin away from Swanson’s impending tag but instead banged his helmet against Swanson’s kneecap. He slammed his helmet against the dirt, rested his arms on his knees and sat alone with his thoughts while 41,000-plus fans roared.

Dodgers third-base coach Dino Ebel could only watch helplessly as the play unfolded.

“That’s our read,” Taylor said. “Just a bad read on my part.”

Taylor had made only two outs on the bases all year and had proven, once again, to be one of the most valuable-yet-underappreciated Dodgers. He provided versatility at six positions, accumulated 20 home runs, was worth 3.1 FanGraphs wins above replacement. But his indecisiveness struck at an inopportune time, late in a tight game with Mookie Betts — coming off a four-hit performance in San Francisco — due to bat next.

“It’s one of those where you have to pick,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You either go hard — and I don’t know if Joc would have thrown to third right there and just conceded that base — or just hold up with two outs and give Mookie a chance. I think right there, he was caught in between. That’s when you get in trouble.”

Game 1 was the one the Braves needed. The Dodgers were scrambling with their pitching after having to use Walker Buehler on short rest on Tuesday and Max Scherzer out of the bullpen on Thursday just to get past the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series. They staged a bullpen game, opening with Corey Knebel and giving the next five innings to three unheralded relievers (Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl, Alex Vesia) and a young starter who hadn’t pitched in 16 days (Tony Gonsolin).

The Dodgers now have Scherzer, Buehler and Julio Urias lined up for the next three games, respectively, and remain in decent shape for the rest of this series. They outhit the Braves, 10-6, and struck out half as many times. But they managed only one hit in their eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, unable to sustain most rallies against Max Fried and the Braves’ three best relievers.

In seven postseason games, the Dodgers’ high-powered offense — without Max Muncy, who is still sporting a bulky brace on his left elbow — has scored three runs or less on five occasions.

“One of those games,” Taylor said. “We squandered a couple opportunities, and they took advantage.”



Source link

MLB

Robot umpires at home plate moving up to Triple-A for 2022, one step away from major league baseball

Published

on

NEW YORK — Robot umpires have been given a promotion and will be just one step from the major leagues this season. Major League Baseball is expanding its automated strike zone experiment to Triple-A, the highest level of the minor leagues.

MLB’s website posted a hiring notice seeking seasonal employees to operate the Automated Ball-Strike system. MLB said it is recruiting employees to operate the system for the Albuquerque Isotopes, Charlotte Knights, El Paso Chihuahuas, Las Vegas Aviators, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Reno Aces, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, Sugar Land Skeeters and Tacoma Rainiers.

The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional league to let a computer call balls and strikes at its All-Star Game in July 2019 and experimented with ABS during the second half of that season. The system also was used in the Arizona Fall League for top prospects in 2019, drawing complaints of its calls on breaking balls.

There were no minor leagues in 2020 because of the pandemic, and robot umps were used last season in eight of nine ballparks at the Low-A Southeast League.

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed in its labor contract that started in 2020 to cooperate and assist if commissioner Rob Manfred decides to use the system at the major league level.

“It’s hard to handicap if, when or how it might be employed at the major league level, because it is a pretty substantial difference from the way the game is called today,” Chris Marinak, MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer, said last March.

MLB said the robot umpires will be used at some spring training ballparks in Florida, will remain at Low A Southeast and could be used at non-MLB venues.

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

Tampa Bay Rays say split-season plan with Montreal rejected by MLB

Published

on

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays‘ proposed plan to split the season between Florida and Montreal has been rejected by Major League Baseball.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg announced the news on Thursday.

“Today’s news is flat-out deflating,” Sternberg said.

The idea of playing in both the Tampa Bay area and Montreal has been discussed over the past several years after attempts to build a new full-time ballpark locally failed.

Montreal had a big league team from 1969, when the expansion Expos began play, through 2004. The Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals for the 2005 season.

The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season.

Since Sternberg took control in October 2005, the once-struggling franchise has been a success on the field but not at the box office.

Despite reaching the World Series in 2008 and 2020, the Rays have annually ranked near the bottom in attendance. The Rays averaged about 9,500 for home games last season, 28th in the majors and ahead of only Miami and Oakland.

St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch feels a new stadium in his city remains a possibility. Governmental officials have been working on a redevelopment plan for the Tropicana Field site.

“We are working with our county partners and city council to put together the best plan possible, which will work in conjunction with my planned evolution of the Tropicana Field master development proposals,” Welch said in a statement. “With this collaborative approach, I am confident we can partner with the Tampa Bay Rays to create a new and iconic full-time home for Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg while also achieving historic equitable economic growth.”

Sternberg said the team will definitely explore options in the Tampa Bay area.

Source link

Continue Reading

MLB

One fun fact you (probably) did not know for all 30 MLB teams

Published

on


From telling team numbers to surprising player stats, we find what you might have missed about your favorite squad.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending