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.
— Pirates (@Pirates) August 26, 2015
“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.