In the 9th inning last night, the Cubs were clinging to a one-run lead against the Marlins. But with Aroldis Chapman coming in, the game was over. After all, he’s either going to strike you out, or (unless you’re Leonys Martin), you’re going to hit the ball weakly somewhere.
Except, sometimes those weakly hit balls are trouble, especially if they lead off the inning.
That’s what happened when Chapman got a dribbler from Adeiny Hechavarria last night. It was trouble, as they say, right off the bat.
But the Cubs have an antidote for dribbler trouble:
Maybe it will roll fou—https://t.co/8XI3W4oFlD
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 3, 2016
Jim Deshaies reactions in that clip are pretty much spot on. From “oh my” to “oohhh myyyyy” to “that throw he gets off!”
Other players may have given up on that ball, letting it die in the grass or possibly roll foul. But in one smooth motion, Baez grabs and unloads a rocket throw – it looks fast even in the slo-mo replay! – to first, retiring Hechavarria in plenty of time.
Baez has looked fantastic at both second base and shortstop in the big leagues, but at third base, he’s consistently looked sublime. Interestingly, the advanced metrics say he’s been incredible at second base and shortstop, and merely average-ish at third base. The sample, I can only assume, is too small. Because he’s tremendous over there.
Maybe he’s losing credit for that one time that he made the most incredible play you’ll see this year that didn’t result in an out.