The Chicago Cubs may have lost last night, but that doesn’t mean you can skip your daily dosage of Javy Baez (if only this warning track shot went just a little bit further…).
And it’s another good one.
After wow-ing us with some base-stealing insanity in Game 1, Baez went back to work in the field on Sunday night, catching everyone off guard (including Addison Russell!) with a heads up, but arguably questionable, double play from second base. Let me set the stage.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning (and two runners on), Joe Maddon replaced his starter, Kyle Hendricks, with the young, fire-balling reliever Carl Edwards Jr. And on just the second pitch of the next at-bat, Joc Pederson hit what looked to be (to us mortals, that is) a soft line-out to the second baseman.
The only problem is that there’s no second baseman out there for the Cubs. Instead, they have some kind of all-knowing, benevolent, baseball god in a Cubs uniform. Check out, what Javy did next:
By allowing the ball to drop so close to his glove, Baez effectively took advantage of the problem identified by the Infield Fly Rule. But, in this particular scenario, the umpires did not consider that liner high enough to qualify as an infield fly ball, so no out was called.
While the runners (and even some Cubs defenders) were busy being confused, the Cubs were able to get the force out at second base and complete the tag of Adrian Gonzalez for an inning-ending, threat-stopping double play.
But should he have gotten away with it? I’m not sure. I have a feeling that many would argue that his ability to decide whether or not he should catch it (as fast as it happened, he clearly made that choice), should automatically initiate the infield fly rule, but at the same time … it just wasn’t an infield fly ball. It quickly, clearly, and easily bounced in front of Baez and his glove.
Baez, for what it’s worth, sure looks like he felt he just pulled something off:
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 17, 2016
Of course, it didn’t wind up mattering, as the score held up for the rest of the game. But, for a fleeting moment there, it sure looked Javy Baez had saved another one for the Cubs. Oh well, there’s at least three more games coming up in Los Angeles, and he’ll have plenty of time to blow our minds again.