Ok, to be fair, what I’m about to lay on you folks isn’t a perfect equal and opposite of the TOOTBLAN, because the TOOTBLAN specifically does not incorporate caught stealing – but I’m going to use it in this case because I think the theory behind it still applies…
How can a Major League Manager allow a base runner to advance on “defensive indifference” (or as Keith Law put it, defensive incompetence) in a tied baseball game? And while I’d argue that statement could stand on its own, regardless of the stage of the game, especially allow that to happen LATE in a tied game?
I give you the ARTALAN. Allowing Runners To Advance Like A Nincompoop.
Lest you believe this is the setup for a Mike Matheny bash-post, it is not – at least not JUST that. For as you will learn after the jump, Mike has contemporaries.
In the top of the ninth inning of last Saturday’s game at the Nationals, with the score tied 9-9, Allen Craig took off for second with David Freese at the plate. Allen Craig. Took off for second. This after Tom Verducci was saying on the Fox broadcast that the Nats didn’t have to worry much about Craig running.
Now, at least they were holding Craig on – but the Washington pitcher, Drew Storen, barely looked at Craig the entire at-bat. Also, Storen does not have what I would call a “quick” delivery to the plate.
Craig strolled into second standing up, without a throw, and subsequently scored what would be the winning run on Freese’s single. I wonder if Davey Johnson took a beating from Mike Rizzo on that one?
Fast forward to last Sunday’s game against the same Nationals, and after Daniel Descalso homered in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 2-2, the Cardinals had two outs on the Nats with pinch runner Eury Perez on second base, Chad Tracy on first, and Ian Desmond batting. One out will get the Redbirds back into the dugout, no harm done.
Now it might be safe to argue that Perez was going to score from second on Desmond’s single anyway. You don’t want your middle infielders pinched so tight trying to hold Perez on that a weak grounder finds a hole and Perez scores anyway. But at least pretend you’re interested in keeping him near the bag? Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma are both flat-footed and nowhere near a position to keep Perez close. I watched the replay of this at-bat several times, and from center field camera angle, Perez’ head is only ever in frame when he returns to the bag between pitches – he had a HUGE lead on every pitch.
So, naturally, Perez takes third base without a throw, Desmond singles (and then Danny Espinosa behind him, just to pile on) and the Nats go on to win the game. If we assume Desmond’s single and Espinosa’s single, the Nats score in the inning anyway – but could they have been held to one? One run that the Cards would make up in the top of the eighth?
We’ll never know. But please, stop with the ARTALAN’s.