It was basic baseball, according to manager Dave Trembley.
You have runners on the corners and nobody out, you send the lead guy home when the ball’s hit on the ground. You can’t have him stay at third as a double play’s being turned.
Garrett Atkins was thrown out at the plate in the top of the ninth inning last night on Brian Roberts’ grounder to third baseman Evan Longoria. The Orioles didn’t score and...well, you know the rest.
Longoria bobbled the ball, which eliminated any chance at a double play, but Atkins couldn’t predict it.
“First and third, nobody out, you go on a ground ball,” Trembley said. “Would you rather have a double play and two outs and a guy at third, or would you rather have one out and guys at first and second? Would you rather have two more outs to play with or would you rather have one out to play with and a guy on. It’s basic baseball. When it’s first and third and no outs or one out, you go on a ground ball. It’s not on contact because when it’s no outs and you go on contact, they hit a line drive and it’s a double play in the infield.
“Would you rather have a 5-4-3 double play or would you rather have first and second, one out, with the guy batting in the two hole and the guy batting in the three hole coming up? Juan Samuel is the third base coach and a very good one. The play was done correctly.
“What made it not look so good was Longoria booted it. But you don’t know that. You’re going on the ground. You’re reading contact down. You’re not going as soon as the ball is hit. You’re going contact down. You see a ground ball, you go.
“Longoria catches that ball, he’s going to go 5-4-3. He booted it and he no longer had the double play. He had one out. That was it. I wish he had caught the darn thing.”
Trembley didn’t consider replacing Atkins with a pinch-runner with the Orioles leading by a run. He didn’t want to bring in a defensive replacement at first base who was sitting in the dugout for eight innings. He would have been more inclined to do so if the Orioles were losing.
We’re almost ready to start tonight’s game and officially put last night’s heartbreaker behind us.
Mike Gonzalez was the first player in the clubhouse today. He wants the ball again tonight.
Maybe he can put his own failure to bed.