April 16, 2009

E--Duncan, Ryan, Pujols

The St. Louis Cardinals pride themselves on defense, but even in a win versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the team in red did themselves no favors with these errors: three in all, officially.

One the errors was as basic as they come, a missed catch. But this E was committed by the usually sure-handed (or gloved) Albert Pujols. A comebacker to relief pitcher Kyle McClellan required a hustling play by the righthander, who fired accurately to first base in an attempt to force out the Cubs' Kosuke Fukadome. Pujols seemed to simply get a bit stiff-armed on the glove side, the ball popping out. Soft hands, Albert. But he knows that. It was just surprising to see the man was human and could actually make a mistake.

The other two errors were committed on the same play. Left fielder Chris Duncan misjudged a shallow fly ball that required him to race in and toward the foul line. Duncan failed to stay on his toes while running, jostling his view of the ball, no doubt, and unable to receive the ball with a soft glove hand. It also appeared as if he took his eye off the ball a fraction early. The ball popped out of his glove. When recovering the missed fly ball, he may have created a difficult throwing situation for himself when he spun around to throw to teammate, second baseman, Brendan Ryan, covering second base for a possible force out on a base runner who was fooled when Duncan misplayed the fly ball. The throw was not too far off line, but did force Ryan to stretch toward center field.

Ryan missed the catch, but may not have misjudged his stretch. The throw from teammate Duncan was off line, but not so far as to force Ryan to abort his stretch for a force play at second base. Ryan simply missed on the reception. This was probably due to not looking the ball into the glove, but my vantage point was such that it was impossible to know for sure.

On another play that was not ruled an error, first baseman, Pujols missed a reception on a finishing throw of a potential double play, but since it was indeed a double play attempt, no error could be ruled. The throw, however, was entirely catch-able. It was hard to tell if the missed reception was due to "rock" hands or taking an eye off the ball prematurely.

Some of the errors or misplays described were of a very simple nature; they could happen to anyone. These are very basic flaws that require a small amount of attention to correct, mostly, just making a few receptions while reminding oneself to receive the ball softly and/or to "look the ball in."

photo by Barbara Moore