Game 139: Picking apart Pena’s play at plate
Jim Leyland cited a philosophy in defending third-base coach Tom Brookens and his second-inning call to wave Brayan Pena home on Jose Iglesias’ double.
“I’d have sent him too,” Leyland said. “I thought that was a great call. To me, when the ball gets by the outfielder like that, make them make two good relays. You know he’s dead by 10-15 feet if they make them. They made them. … With two outs, I have absolutely no problem with that call.”
The fact that there are two outs there, he said, changes the aggressive.
“One out or no outs, I’d have had a problem,” Leyland said. “But with two outs, a ball gets by the outfielder like that, make them make two good throws. And they did. You tip your cap to them. Pena ran out of gas a little bit at the end, and Tommy knows that. I think he was a little bit mad at himself, but I told him good call.”
Brookens appreciated the support,but the fact that the play wasn’t close was what had him second-guessing himself after the game.
“My take on it is be very aggressive with two outs, but yet if you’re out, I want it to be a little closer than it was,” Brookens said. “That’s really about it. He was just out too far for the way I like to approach things. If he’s out on a fairly close play, then I’ll always feel like you made a good call. But when they’re out by quite frankly that much, then you probably made the wrong call. And I wish I’d held him up now.”
The idea of testing a defense to make two good relays, of course, is balanced by the runner testing them. Pena runs hard for a catcher his size, but he’s running hard trying to score from first base.
“It’s on me,” Brookens said. “I didn’t make a very good call on that one, quite honestly, no two ways about it. I wish it would’ve been closer and maybe it could’ve worked out on a bad relay, but it didn’t.”
The two-out situation, obviously, makes it look like an early opportunity thwarted with Austin Jackson due up following his leadoff double in the opening inning. Once Lester came back out for the third and struck out Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in order, it appeared Lester had recovered between innings. It loomed much larger, obviously, by game’s end.