About Those Pirates Outfield Assists From Last Night

Yesterday I wrote about the Pirates finally having a Dream Outfield© with the emergence of Gregory Polanco this year. A big part of what makes that outfield so good is the defense. Last night the defense was on full display from the corner spots.

Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco both had outfield assists, throwing runners out at third base. Polanco’s throw was a perfect strike from right field, completing a double play after the runner tagged up at second on a fly out.

“Gregory just shows off,” Clint Hurdle said today before the game about the play. “That’s strong. That’s power, accuracy. Very special.”

Marte’s assist, on the other hand, wasn’t so text-book. A ball was hit down the line and into the corner, leading to an easy double from Adeiny Hechaverria. But the Marlins third baseman didn’t stop at second, trying to stretch the double into a triple. And Marte was slow to get the ball, which might have influenced the decision to run to third. Despite the slow approach, Marte still nailed the runner at third. Clint Hurdle explained what might have been going on with Marte on that play.

“One of the things you’ve got to be cognizant of, you come to a new ballpark — there’s a little cranny down there. The ball went by the cranny. He got to the ball. He was going to make a smart play. Could he have underestimated that player’s aggressiveness? End of the day he’s out at third base with a perfect throw.”

Marte was a bit slow to the ball, which was explained by Hurdle as waiting to see how the ball would bounce in the corner. But the bigger problem seemed to be the casual throw, as shown in the video below.

Hurdle did call it a learning moment for Marte. A guy with a weaker arm probably would have resulted in that play going for a triple. While Marte didn’t appear to give it a full effort, it goes to show that even a low effort throw from Marte is better than what you’d get from most outfielders, and enough to get the job done.

**Francisco Cervelli is out of the lineup tonight after taking a foul ball off his right ankle and jamming his left foot sliding into second last night. However, the off day was a scheduled day, according to Hurdle, with the decision being made before yesterday’s game. Hurdle said last night that Cervelli checked out fine, and said the same thing today.

**Rob Scahill will continue to make rehab appearances with Indianapolis for the time being. Hurdle said that his forearm is good and that Scahill is healthy.

“He’s going to continue to throw right now,” Hurdle said. “Different roles, get him stretched out again. He’s pitched one inning. He’s pitched multiple innings once. He’s continuing to work to get sharper.”

I’d expect Scahill to be activated when rosters expand on September 1st.

  • That play was not Marte’s finest moment. He acted as if he was just going through the motions and didn’t even check the runner before basically lobbing ball back to 3rd. He was very fortunate to get an out on the play.

    Polanco on the other hand threw a BB!

    • I think the argument against is that Marte actually read the play correctly.

      Factually speaking, that was absolutely atrocious baserunning by Hechaverria. Marte didn’t play the ball at full speed, nor was his throw anywhere close to max effort, and Hechaverria was still out easily. Marte read the play correctly expecting a double, because that’s what it would’ve been with any sane baserunner.

      • I also think that if Marte rushes over and then makes a max effort throw, you might end up with a runner at second base. It may have been the low effort that led to Hechavarria trying to take the extra base. I’m not saying that’s why Marte did it. But you can’t assume he’s running no matter what Marte does.

        • The end result was positive, but if he keeps displaying that type of effort, he will cost his team.

          On a more macro level, this play is unfortunately all too indicative of this teams inconsistent ability to pay attention to detail. They rely on their God given talent and the systems put in place to win games, but to be a championship team they need to play smart, hard-nosed, fundamental baseball on a consistent basis, too.

      • We both know what happens when you assume something. Based on CH’s comment on the play, I assume Marte now knows, too.

        • Its an out? I mean, he assumed the runner wasnt a big enough moron to go for 3rd on a play that had no business being an attempt at a triple.

          He was wrong in his assumption, but its because the other player made the worst decision possible. I get he wasnt max effort, but its largely because that play didnt require 100% full effort. Easy double, almost no chance its a triple.

          • True, but how often do we see a player take an extra base in an attempt to spark the team and make the opposition press?

            Quite frankly, if I’m managing the Marlins I’m encouraging this type of aggressiveness. One of the hardest jobs in sports has to be managing a last place baseball team in August. A sure fire way to keep them engaged is to tell them to go balls out like this guy did, and pat him on the butt when he got back to the dugout irregardless if he’s safe or out.

            • If any manager in baseball encourages that, he should be fired. There is aggressive, and then there is “imma keep running because its fun.”

              I like aggressive, i tend to overvalue aggressive, and even i cant understand that. You can be aggressive and still not totally fundamentally moronic. A sure fire way to make a player feel stupid is ignoring when they make basic mistakes. Even for a last place team, playing intelligently is appreciated by players.

              • Thank you. At this point, Scott’s not talking about this play, he’s talking about a larger mindset.

                But count me as one who doesn’t give a rat’s ass how “aggressive” a guy is playing if he’s making just plain stupid decisions, which Hechavaria did.

                • Yeah i think if anything thats almost depressing for players when you see guys clearly not using basic logic and just fucking around. Are we that bad we can just YOLO around? (use of yolo intended to make fun of its absurdity).

                  Also, even with the larger mindset i think its overplayed as a point. I get you dont want players being lazy, but i think there are a ton of plays in a game where you dont need to go hard and thats not a bad thing. I dont like a guy taking a play off, but i dont hate a guy jogging to a ball thats a clear double rather than dead sprint for show.

        • This is the same exact logic behind getting mad when every batter doesn’t run out an easy fly ball, isn’t it?

          Sure, you’re technically correct. Yes, that’s how I was taught to play the game in Little League. And of course it still irks me that the game isn’t played that way anymore.

          But it’s not. It just isn’t.

          If you, Hurdle, or anyone else wants to use this play to make a bigger, over-arching point then that’s fine. But this play, itself, was played just fine by Marte. If Hechavaria doesn’t make that awful decision, there wouldn’t be a single person remembering how Marte fielded that ball.

          • Scott Kliesen
            August 28, 2015 5:41 am

            Oh, so you’re of the opinion two wrongs equals a right?

            Thanks, but I’ll stand by my point.

            • Not at all…I’m of the opinion that this isn’t Little League, and the argument for running out every single play is incredibly overstated.

              • Laziness, be it physical or mental, is a disease that will kill team’s chances of success. Hard enough to win when the game is played right way.

                That’s how I see it.