Remember when Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier looked like one of the worst defensive players in baseball? You know, that week where he made three errors in a single series, two of which led to Little League home runs? Yeah, neither do we.
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It’s funny how quickly things can change. After Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, it’s safe to say his defensive struggles are over. Kiermaier turned in yet another highlight-worthy catch, robbing a home run to end the game.
With the Rays up 7-4, Jason Kipnis stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth looking to extend the game. On the second pitch of the at-bat, it looked as though he succeeded. Kipnis hit a long fly ball to deep center of Alex Colome. Off the bat, it looked like it was about to be a two-run game.
But wall-scraping home runs are never a guarantee when Kiermaier is patrolling center. The outfielder turned, tracked the ball until he ran out of room and then jumped at the last second to rob Kipnis of a home run. The most impressive part: Kiermaier made the whole thing look easy.
The grab ended the game, preserving the Rays’ 7-4 lead. Kiermaier seemed pretty pleased with himself, spinning around with the ball in his mitt once his feet reached the ground. He then spread out his arms to high five left fielder Peter Bourjos, who also seemed pretty excited.
The only person who didn’t enjoy the moment was Kipnis, who responded with the following look:
At the very least, Jason Kipnis has his Disappointed Parent face down. pic.twitter.com/AE5odSvYBa
— Michael Clair (@michaelsclair) May 17, 2017
That’s an appropriate response when Kiermaier is out there. His career was built on making exceptional defensive plays, so there’s no use in getting mad. You just kind of have to wistfully stare into the abyss until you slowly accept what just happened.
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