For example, until last night I had been told a base runner on third with no outs and a ball hit in the air should be near the bag so he can tag up to at least try to score. But when Ben Revere did not tag to try to score when Domonic Brown hit a sinking line drive to Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford in the seventh inning in a 2-0 loss, the explanation afterward was that it was OK.
Most coaches or players who saw that play would be puzzled by that answer.
“You know what?” Ryne Sandberg said. “From my angle, that’s a tough call. It looked like a sure base hit, it was so shallow. I was surprised he made a catch on that. That was a tough call. I don’t know if it’s a shoestring catch, if he scores or not, if he does catch the ball. Definitely a big play though.”
Revere said he only tags if there is one out. If there are no outs he is running all the way.
“I was going no matter what,” he said. “The ball just kind of stayed up in the air. I thought it was going to land, and he made the catch with no outs. With one out I usually go back and tag, but, nah, I thought that ball was going to be down for sure off the bat.”
So the play there with no outs is don’t tag up?
“It was like a line drive, so I kind of froze, saw it in the air and that’s when … I was going on contact anyway, and I saw it, and it got closer, I was like, ‘This is going to be down,’ but he came in (and got it),” Revere said. “Usually with one out I go back and tag.”
Sandberg has stressed fundamentals constantly since the beginning of spring training. There have been countless drills. Infield drills. Outfield drills. Base running drills. Asked last night about those efforts and if he has seen enough improvement, Sandberg didn’t offer an answer.
“I think once again, that play right there is a tough call,” he said. “If he’s playing that shallow, or if he traps it, a shoestring non-catch, he’s got to be able to score there. Other than that, the guys battled. Pitching was outstanding tonight. Like I said, we did have three opportunities with two men on and no outs.”