It's often said the most exciting play in baseball is a triple or an inside-the-park home run. However, it appears Los Angeles Dodgers speedster Dee Gordon has designs on changing that to something far more simple: A ground ball to second base.
We're not kidding. On Friday night, Gordon managed to turn a slow roller between first and second base into the most exciting play during their 11-inning 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies. It helped that Colorado had second baseman DJ LeMahieu shaded up the middle on the play. That meant he had a lot of ground to cover to cut the ball off, and despite his best effort he could only knock it down.
That part of the play was admittedly not all that exciting. However, once Gordon hit the bag at first and saw LeMahieu's momentum carrying him towards the foul line, he decided to turn left and make a run for second base and made it in with a head first slide.
Now that's exciting.
The baseball never left the infield. It was sitting there literally five feet away from Gordon when he made the turn towards second base, but the three Rockies defenders who converged on the play were all powerless to stop him.
As Vin Scully reminded us on the broadcast, speed never slumps. That's a fact. It's also a fact that speed wreaks havoc on the base paths. In this case, Los Angeles went from a bases empty two-out situation to scoring a quick tally as Yasiel Puig delivered him home with an RBI single to tie the game 2-2. So it wasn't just exciting, it was a potentially game-changing moment, which is why manager Don Mattingly keeps penciling Gordon's name and his .350 batting average at the top of his order.
The only suggestion Mattingly might have for Gordon moving forward? Don't fall too in love with the bunt. In addition to his breath-taking double on Friday, Gordon also became the first position player since 1988 to strike out attempting to bunt twice in the same game. On both occasions, he bunted it foul with two strikes.
The thought process is admirable. Defenses tend to relax on bunts with two strikes not believing the hitter will risk it. If Gordon gets it down, it probably works out as he envisioned. But it's also one of those situations where if you try it, it better work, because it's not a high percentage play. Failing at it twice in one game won't buy a lot of leeway with the coaching, so for the next few games anyway he's probably better off taking full hacks and seeing what type of havoc he can create that way.
And why not? It's all been working out for him so far. If he keeps producing, he may end up turning free agent Alexander Guerrero, who's still down in Triple A adjusting to second base, into a luxury moving forward. Not many people would be able to say they saw that coming. Perhaps not even Gordon.
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