Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Newsletter Excerpt, October 10, 2023 -- "October Arrives"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider.

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"This play had everything, including little mistakes that had to happen for it to go just so. Harper’s out wasn’t a baserunning error, he read 'double' and even at that stopped just past second base to make sure he was right. His error was physical; he lost his footing when he turned to go back to first, slowing down enough to get doubled up. After Harris’s great catch at the wall, the center fielder flung the ball blindly back towards the general area of second base, looking not to double up Harper but keep him from advancing. The Braves’ middle infielders seemed to be lining up for a relay to the plate, Orlando Arcia out in short right-center, Ozzie Albies backing him up behind second base. Harris missed them both and Albies waved at the short hop, which should have allowed Harper to get back to first safely.

"Instead, there was Riley, who once the ball was caught had no need to cover third, and so began moving to back up Albies’s backup. He fielded the throw just inside the dirt, to the left of second base, with all his momentum moving towards first, and fired to beat Harper to the bag, ending the game. The play was close enough that I’m not sure Albies, farther from first base, moving in the other direction, and not having quite the arm Riley does, makes the play if he fields the throw cleanly. The Braves had to be skilled, and they had to get a little lucky, and if that’s not the essence of October, nothing is."