Friday, August 10, 2012

The Scorin' Commission's Findings On The Crawford/Ciriaco Abomination

This play ate at my insides last night. We had the tying run on second with nobody out. Ells strikes out, and Crawford hits a grounder in front of Ciriaco that he tries to go to third on, gets in a rundown, is tagged out, and they throw to second to nail Crawford to end the inning. I blame Pedro for running, but I wasn't sure--did he do the right thing in the rundown? It seemed like he tried to stay in it as long as he could--on that last part he was running toward third, didn't want to run into a tag, so he stopped, only to see the guy behind him hadn't thrown. He's tagged out, the guy whips around and starts to throw simultaneously, putting the ball exactly where it needs to go to get Crawford. Then they showed Carl's run from home to second and he was slowing up and almost stayed at first even. I really wanted to know what was going on with Pedro as I was watching Carl, so I took both replays, played them at slow speed (the fact that they start and end at the same time means they are in sync--NESN had played both of these at real speed and I slowed both down with my DVR), and put them next to each other. (Ignore the various real-life noises you hear in the background.)

0:17: The third baseman has received the throw from the shortstop. Crawford turns away from the play at this point, thinking Ciriaco's about to be tagged out and therefore Carl can't do anything but get to first and stay there.

0:20: As Ciriaco is being chased back toward second, Crawford looks back up at the play, a few steps from first. He is still thinking only about getting to first.

0:25: The second baseman is about to retrieve the second throw, and Ciriaco is just making his cut to go back toward third. (Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left.) Carl has just reached first and has slightly rounded it in a jog and is watching the play develop.

0:27: Carl sees Pedro headed toward third as the second baseman chases after him with the ball. This is the moment Crawford decides to make a break for second. (He is still very close to first.)

0:35: Ciriaco has been chased down and is tagged. Carl has taken 8 running steps toward second, while watching the rundown.

0:38: The guy has made the tag and has turned and is about to throw and at 0:42 the perfect throw is received and the tag is made on Carl.

I don't blame Carl once he started to run to second. Once you get halfway, you've gotta go for it. And as he was hitting that point, he thought another throw would be made to third (and maybe more). Instead, the tag is made and the fielder is quickly turning around to gun him out. (Still, had Pedro kept running toward third causing one more throw to be made, the third baseman could have caught, tagged, and gunned to second, still getting Carl.)

However, I do blame Carl for not thinking ahead. As soon as you see the throw isn't going to first on a grounder, ASSUME there will be a rundown and sprint your ass down the line, prepared to round the bag. Had he been running the whole time, he makes it to second easily. They're not gonna forget about the guy between second and third to throw you out, so you have nothing to worry about. (If they do, you've won as the lead runner is now safe anyway.) Even with the slow-down and turn-away he did before he reached first, had he turned the jets on right when he looked back up (when it was totally clear there was a rundown going on), he still would have been safe.

So take what you will from that. Also remember all times listed above are based on a play going in slow motion. The one thing that stinks about the slo-mo is you can't fully tell how hard Carl is running at various times, though you can use visual context....

Right but who was the bigger nincompoop? That's the controversy here.... I definitely believe Ciriaco shouldn't have ran, but I have to give Crawford some blame on the way he played it from that point on.
Kind of hard to blame a guy for not knowing how to react after another guy is stupid. How does carl know when pedro was going to properly run the bases? Probably best to wait and see.
If it's best to wait and see, why did he try for second at all? He waited until well after the rundown was under way, THEN went. If you miss your window, it's too late at that point. You can't say Pedro didn't stay in the rundown long enough because had Craw run just a little bit more at any point during the play, he's safe at second.
He must have decided that enough was enough, he had to try it. And, he know's he's fast...thought he could do it. And, if Pedro keeps running like he should have, might have made it.
I still say Pedro was clearly trying his best to stay in the pickle as long as possible.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States