9/30 Baserunning 101
First it was Luis Valbuena getting thrown out at third trying to advance on what would’ve been a sacrifice fly, but instead ended up as a double play. Joe Mather made the same mistake. Dale Sveum said he hadn’t seen that in 30 years in baseball, yet saw it twice this year. On Sunday, there were a couple more gaffes. The Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and one out later, pinch-hitter Dave Sappelt hit a run-scoring infield single. Anthony Recker was hit by a pitch to force in another run, and Bryan LaHair then lined a two-run single to right. But the inning ended as LaHair was picked off at first.
In the third, Anthony Rizzo doubled, and was picked off when he was walking off the base. He thought Alfonso Soriano had struck out, but instead it was only the second strike of the at-bat.
“It’s like a vitamin. One a day,” Sveum said of the strange base running mistakes. “It’s stuff you don’t teach it and don’t see it. It’s strange stuff, it’s unbelievable.”
“Rizzo thought there were two strikes and two outs and thought Soriano struck out, and started walking off,” Sveum said. “LaHair got caught — [first base coach Dave] McKay was telling him to go and draw the throw and we could score the run on the backside. It’s one of those plays, you’ve got the outfielder where you want him. You can go, and if he throws to first, you walk into second. If he throws to second, you score the back-end run.”
The Cubs did work on that in Spring Training.
“It’s something that comes up rarely during the season,” Sveum said of LaHair’s play. “Two strikes, two outs, you’re not teaching that. We’ve got some pretty big scoreboards out here to let you know [the count]. You have no explanation for those.”
Rizzo took the blame.
“I just thought there were two strikes, two outs and I did the right thing if there were two strikes, two outs but there wasn’t,” he said. “It is embarrassing because I know Dale has to answer those questions. … I’m happy we came up with a win.”
— Carrie Muskat