This is fun. The crazy sequence where Craig Breslow threw away the ball when he tried to get Jon Jay at third base last night? The one that resulted in the go-ahead and what proved to be the winning run scoring? The only reason that happened is because Jon Jay failed to play baseball The Cardinal Way.
Watch the v45 second mark of the video here, when Matt Carpenter hits the fly ball to left field. Specifically, watch Jay at second base. Even more specifically, watch him fail to tag up on what almost everyone should have seen was a fly ball that was going to be caught:
As a result of not tagging up, Jay could not run to third simultaneously with Pete Kozma who was tagging up from third and running home. He has to scamper back to second, tag, and then go to third. Since he was running late to third, Breslow thought he had a shot, threw the ball away and then Jay scored.
Of course Carlos Beltran then came up and singled in Descalso, who also advanced on the play, and if Jay had been standing on third as fundamentally sound baseball would have had him do, it would have been him who scored. Still, the defining play of that game — the place where the wheels fell off for the Red Sox — was the result of some decidedly non-heads up baserunning by Jay.
Irresponsible baserunning. A bad throw. Man, somewhere, Yasiel Puig was watching this all and smiling.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.