George Springer hit a big home run for the Astros last night. It was his fifth straight World Series game with a homer. That’s good! But he also did something less-than-good.
In the bottom of the eighth, with the Astros down 5-3, Springer was batting with Kyle Tucker on second and one out. He sent a breaking ball from Daniel Hudson deep, deep, deep to right-center field but . . . it was not deep enough. It rattled off the wall. Springer ended up with a double.
Except, he probably has a triple if, rather than crow-hop out of the box and watch what he thought would be a home run, he had busted it out of the box. Watch:
After that José Altuve flied out. Maybe it would’ve been deep enough to score Springer form third, tying the game, maybe it wouldn’t have, but Springer being on second mooted the matter.
After the game, Springer defended himself by saying that he had to hold up because the runner on second had to hold up to make sure the ball wasn’t caught before advancing. That’s sort of laughable, though, because Springer was clearly watching what he thought was a big blast, not prudently gauging the pace of his gait so as not to pass a runner on the base paths. He, like Ronald Acuña Jr. in Game 1 of the NLDS, was admiring what he thought was a longball but wasn’t. Acuña, by the way, like Springer, also hit a big home run in his team’s losing Game 1 cause, so the situations were basically identical.
Also identical, I suspect, is that both Acuña and Springer’s admiring of their blasts was partially inspired by the notion that, in the regular season, those balls were gone and were not in October because of the very obviously different, and deader, baseball MLB has put into use. It does not defend them not running hard, but it probably explains why they thought they had homers.
Either way: a lot of the baseball world called out Acuña for his lack of hustle in that game against the Cardinals. I can’t really see how Springer shouldn’t be subjected to the same treatment here.