There are few things in baseball more exciting than Nationals shortstop Trea Turner on the basepaths. The 24-year-old has the third most stolen bases in MLB since his rookie year in 2016, a feat made especially impressive by the fact he has never played in more than 100 games in a season.
That excitement turned into confusion Saturday when Turner’s jump on a stolen base during the ninth inning proved to be his downfall. Down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Turner broke for second and Phillies shortstop Pedro Florimon moved to cover the base. However, Matt Wieters popped up the pitch.
Turner should have run back to first, but he stayed at second as Florimon mimed as though he had the ball. Turner got up looking confused and stayed at second. Soon, Cesar Hernandez caught the pop-up and threw the ball back to first, doubling off Turner and killing the Nationals’ chance at a ninth-inning comeback.
Pretty tricky from Florimon, right? Maybe not so much.
According to Turner via Cut4, Florimon’s performance wasn’t what deked him. Instead, it was apparently the lack of sound from Wieters’ pop-up.
“Usually I hear the ball off the bat, so a lot of times if I hear it I’ll look up,” Turner said. “I didn’t hear it that time. I knew Florimon didn’t have the ball, I just figured it was like a passed ball or something, that he was trying to get me to stay at second base. So by the time I realized, I looked up and saw Matt Wieters running down the first-base line. It kind of confused me. It happens. If I hear it, I think I look up and run back and everything is fine. I happened to not hear it.”
That explanation makes a little more sense, even though it’s hard to understand how the sound from Wieters’ pop-up didn’t reach Turner’s ears. Whatever the reason, it was still an embarrassing gaffe from one of baseball’s premier speedsters and a play that helped knock the Nationals back to .500 at 17-17.
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