Monday, August 12, 2019

Ehire Adrianza, pinch runner

The Twins could have won Sunday's game in the ninth, but Ehire Adrianza isn't Byron Buxton afoot, and Cleveland executed its relay well, and Adrianza -- who was pinch-running for C.J. Cron -- was out by about 10 feet at the plate.

Even after Adrianza was nailed, the Twins still had the tying run at second with two outs. But Jonathan Schoop has had a terrible season in close games -- almost all his production has come in blowouts -- and he once again didn't come through.

But I want to discuss the Adrianza play. A few points:

1. Adrianza was pinch-running for Cron specifically to try to score from first on an extra-base hit. There was a runner (Luis Arraez) on second, so a stolen base wasn't in order, and Cleveland wouldn't be holding the runner on first, so the man on first could get a longer lead.

So it wasn't surprising that Tony Diaz sent Adrianza. This was exactly what Adrianza was in the game for. If the Twins were willing to settle for a double scoring Arraez and having the other runner stop at third, they didn't have to run for Cron.

2. Adrianza isn't truly fast. He is a middle infielder, and middle infielders are frequently fast, but Adrianza is an exception. He has nimble feet -- he's good at fielding a ball and being in position to make a throw, but that's not the same as running 270 feet in three directions.

3. I thought at the time that Adrianza took a poor route between third and home, but on the replay I saw that he indeed cut third base well and took a more direct route home. We've seen players run a wide loop around the bases, sometimes running closer to the third-base dugout than to the chalk line. That wasn't the case with Adrianza.

4. Was there a better pinch-running option than Adrianza? Rule out Jason Castro. Maybe Jake Cave is faster than Adrianza. And Cave could have played right in the 10th inning with Marwin Gonzalez shifting to first in Cron's place. But I assume the Twins know who's faster between Adrianza and Cave, and it's quite possible that even if there is a difference that it wasn't enough to make the difference betweens safe and out on that play.

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