And it backfired.
Matt Kemp, the NL player of the month for April, hadn’t been intentionally walked all season before Colorado manager Jim Tracy gave him two free passes today. It was the second of those that was truly surprising, though: Kemp was put on as the tying run with a man on first and two outs in the ninth.
The Rockies were leading 5-3 when Rafael Betancourt walked Kemp, bringing up Dee Gordon. The move was made even though Kemp had just a lone single in 10 career at-bats against Betancourt. Gordon went on to hit a game-tying double, with Kemp scoring all of the way from first. The Rockies should have had a play at the plate on Kemp, but Troy Tulowitzki rushed the relay and threw the ball well up the first base line. A good throw likely would have had Kemp by several feet.
Fortunately the Rockies were able to preserve the tie from there: after an intentional walk to Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston Jr. made a bid for a three-run homer, only to have the ball go foul. He ended up striking out. The Rockies then picked up their manager, as Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.