Leyland: Don’t try for 2nd just to disrupt throw home
Jhonny Peralta had the Tigers’ lone hit with runners in scoring position Saturday, and it resulted in Detroit’s two runs. But in the process, he also might have run the Tigers out of a bigger rally.
With his eighth-inning flare to right field, he not only drove in the first runs off Pedro Strop since July 3, he turned what had been a 3-0 shutout bid into a one-run game. When he kept on going to second as right fielder Nick Markakis threw home, however, he became an easy target for first baseman Mark Reynolds, who cut off the throw and started Peralta in a rundown.
It wasn’t anything orchestrated on the Tigers’ part to try to make sure the second run scored.
“Really, the general rule thumb there is if the ball is low, you can’t go, because it’s a ball that can be cut,” manager Jim Leyland said. “If the guy air-mails it and throws it high, then you go on to second. It was probably just a mistake in judgment on Jhonny’s part, to be honest with you.”
Asked about the philosophy of taking the extra base and sacrificing the out to get the run home, Leyland said:
“I think that’s one of the most — not in this particular case, i’m just talking in general — one of the most misunderstood plays in baseball. When there’s a confusion there whether they’re going to throw the guy out at home or not, years ago they thought: If you think they’re going to throw him out at home, keep going. I don’t believe in that. You can’t do that. You’ve gotta go by the way the ball’s thrown.”
That’s an area where Leyland seemingly goes against some of the traditional thinking.
Can’t find specific stats on rundowns on the basepaths with a runner going home. Bigger-picture, however, STATS Inc. keeps a category known as unforced errors on the basepaths. According to STATS, the Tigers have made 38 outs trying to take an extra base, third-highest among AL teams behind the Angels and Rays.