It was the play that changed the series. After the first two Nationals reached in a scoreless game in the seventh inning Monday, Wilson Ramos dropped down a bunt. Madison Bumgarner grabbed the ball and then immediately whirled and threw wildly to third. Pablo Sandoval couldn’t make the grab, the ball got mixed up in the bullpen down the left-field line and both baserunners came around to score, putting the Giants in a 2-0 hole. Asdrubal Cabrera went on to single Ramos in from third to make it a 3-0 game. The Nationals ended up winning 4-1 to stay alive and send the NLDS to a Game 4 on Tuesday.
But you probably already knew all of that. What you might not have known was that catcher Buster Posey was at the root of the whole mess.
As can be heard in the video, “three” is yelled before Bumgarner even picks up the ball. Unless I’ve completely lost my mind, that’s Posey doing the yelling, telling Bumgarner where he needs to go with throw. That’s the catcher’s job in these instances, and it’s the pitcher’s responsibility to follow through; he’s not going to take the time to survey the field himself.
Bumgarner, of course, is still responsible for his bad throw on the play. But it’s Posey who made the wrong call in the first place; even if Bumgarner had made a good throw, Ian Desmond was going to be safe at third on the bunt. The play was at first base all along.