Every baseball coach will tell you one of the biggest keys to executing a successful rundown is limiting the number of throws — ideally no more than two or three — because it reduces the odds of a mistake and also limits the opportunity for another base runner to advance.
But those same coaches will also tell you it’s equally important to keep the ball in constant motion, while noting that every player on the field has a place to be when a rundown occurs, because every now and then you’ll deal with a runner with exceptional lateral quickness, fancy footwork, and enough speed to outrun the ball and extend the play, such as Colorado Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr.
The San Francisco Giants found out firsthand how difficult it can be to chase down a player with Young’s elite speed and elusiveness during their 11-6 win over Colorado on Saturday night. After Young led off the game with a single and immediately stole second base, Giants starter Madison Bumgarner caught the speedster breaking for third and attempted to pick him off. Once his initial throw was received by third baseman Marco Scutaro, all kinds of craziness ensued.
Take a look:
For those scoring at home, that’s 1-5-6-4-5-3-1, with Bumgarner getting an assist and the putout with the swipe tag at the end.
Also, as you can see in the clip, had the rundown required a couple more throws, left fielder Melky Cabrera, center fielder Angel Pagan, and right fielder Hunter Pence had all converged and were all in position to participate, putting all nine Giants defenders in the infield. In fact, Cabrera seemed poised to tackle Young towards the end if necessary.
It was definitely one of the crazier rundowns we’ve seen in recent years. All things considered, it was also a well executed rundown by the Giants (aside from Marco Scutaro’s hiccup) and an admirable effort by Young to stay alive that long. That earned him a nice applause from Rockies fans who were willing to look past yet another fundamental breakdown by the home team just for the sake of witnessing something entertaining.