April 15, 2009

D--9-3-5 Cut-off putout

With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks trailed the Cardinals 11-6 with Felipe Lopez on third base and Steven Drew on second base.

D'backs' cleanup hitter Chad Tracy hit a fly of sacrifice depth to right field in turbulent wind conditions.

Right fielder Ryan Ludwick had all he could do to make sure he was in position to make the fly ball reception, not able to put much into an approach that would permit him to make a significant throw to home plate in order to attempt a putout on lead base runner Lopez, who was tagging up on the play.

Ludwick doesn't have the best or the worst outfield arm on the squad, but I would assess him as being the best Cards' outfielder at hitting the cut-off man, a skill that is warranted by any team wanting to get as much success as possible out of their outfielders. On this particular play, 9-3-5, Ludwick would throw home "through" a cut-off man, in this case, first baseman, Albert Pujols, who, if you watch, has made himself quite ready on throws in from Ludwick. And for good reason.

Ludwick throws strikes through the cut-off man, who may respond to the catcher's call of "Cut-3," or, if using a more efficient cut-off communication, simply, "Three!" Or, Pujols has "pre-read" the situation, he may make the cut on his own, his read and experience telling him where the throw should be made.

Pujols indeed cut off the Ludwick throw, pivoting and firing across the diamond to third baseman, Joe Thurston, who applied a tag to base runner Drew. Lopez scored a run, however, the Drew putout killed off any further potential rally by the D'backs.

Putouts requiring more than one throw usually require proper technique by three defenders. This 9-3-5 putout credits RF Ludwick-1B Pujols-3B Thurston.

Game #10 -- April 15, 2009 -- vs. Diamondbacks

photo by Barbara Moore