There's a reason your baseball or softball coach always instructed you to grab, kick, swipe or swat a slow roller down the line once it crossed into foul territory. It's because every once in a good while, that ball will take a sharp right or left turn, cross the line again, leaving you with a negative result and perhaps a little egg on your face.
The former was definitely the case for the Texas Rangers on Thursday night when Cleveland Indians outfielder Vinny Rottino attempted a sacrifice bunt with a runner on first and no outs in the eighth inning. The pitch from Tanner Scheppers rode up and in on Rottino, forcing him to protect himself more than focus on executing. But it still ended up working out just fine as the ball shot down the first base line, rolled about as far foul as it possibly could without leaving the dirt, before striking the grass and shooting fair just in front of the base.
All parties involved in the play were spectators at first, including Rottino, who hesitated out of the box, and Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, who basically never moved at all. Scheppers did follow it up the line and ended up recording the unassisted out, but by the time he reacted the sacrifice was executed and Cleveland had its runner in scoring position.
High fives all around for Rottino in the Indians dugout.
Of course there are those that would say bunting is never a good idea and ending up with the out on the play benefited Texas more than anything. I can't totally disagree with that, and the fact Cleveland didn't end up scoring in the inning would even back that thought up. However, had Carlos Santana, Cleveland's runner on first at the time, not assumed anything himself and ran hard the whole way to second base, he probably could have made a dash towards third and made it pretty easily.
I think there are guys in the big leagues who would have done that. In fact, I know there are based on some of the aggressive base running moves we've seen this season. The Rangers were just lucky they weren't dealing with one on the bases here and that the unexpected turn didn't end up costing them.
What did end up costing Texas, though, was closer Joe Nathan's ninth-inning meltdown. After grabbing a 4-2 lead in their half of the eighth thanks to a pair of Indians errors, Nathan allowed home runs to Ezequiel Carrera and Jason Kipnis and the Rangers ended up falling, 5-4.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cleveland Indians
- Tanner Scheppers