So as many of you may have seen, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 4–3 in Game 7 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series. While I’m not a fan of looking at one singular play throughout sporting events to blame for an entire loss, in this instance it certainly seems justified.
In the top of the 4th inning, already with a 3–2 lead, the Braves had runners on second and third with no outs. An easy situation to get at least two more runs across to really put the pressure on LA heading down the stretch.
Then this happened.
The bottom comment says it all, although it takes blame away from Dansby Swanson (the runner on 3rd), who deserves his fair share of the responsibility for this one, as well.
This is one of the worst baserunning blunders I’ve ever seen. Anyone who knows baseball knows that with a runner on third, on a ground ball to the left side of the infield, especially one hit to third, you simply don’t leave. Dansby Swanson breaking for home on this play is totally inexcusable in the first place.
Which then leads us to what Austin Riley (runner on second) did here. As long as Justin Turner (Dodgers third baseman) was moving at a slow pace in the rundown, as he was doing at first, it’s okay for Riley to bounce back and forth between second and third, as the possibility for Swanson to return to third base still remained.
However, once Turner turns and begins a full sprint towards home plate chasing Swanson, Riley simply has to get to third. Once the sprint begins, there’s no turning back for Swanson. That mistake falls squarely on the shoulders of Austin Riley, who simply waited to long to pull the trigger and try to advance.
To make matters worse, Nick Markakis (the batter) only ended up at first base. How does he not at least get to second in all of this pandemonium?!
Following this madness, Cristian Pache then hit into a groundout to end the inning.