I’ve been watching baseball for around 35 years. I’ve been watching it closely and obsessively for most of that time. Given our prejudices which favor recency over memory, I’m willing to admit that, perhaps, I have seen a throw better than Yoenis Cespedes’ throw in last night’s A’s-Angels game. But if I have, I simply can’t think of one.
Eighth inning, Howie Kendrick on first base. Mike Trout doubles to left field. Cespedes goes to retrieve it but he misplays it, it kicks off his glove and rolls to the wall going down the left field line. Kendrick is on his horse, rounds third and heads for home. Then:
That’s probably 300 feet on the fly, in high arc but coming straight down into Derek Norris’ glove. The umps reviewed. Officially to see if the tag was made and/or the plate blocked. Unofficially: because the video guys in New York just wanted to see the throw again. I assume, anyway.
Someone will find some old video of a Vlad Guerrero or a Dave Parker or a Bo Jackson throw today that they will claim featured a better throw than the one Cespedes uncorked. And, as these things go, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’ll take some pretty impressive old video, however, to get me to say this one wasn’t the best.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.