Little League coaches emphasize it at a young age and it holds true regardless of what level of baseball a player reaches: Every defender on the diamond has a place to be on every play, even if the ball is on the other side of the field. There might be a throw to back up, a base to cover, and even a rundown to participate in. The three main rules to follow are stay alert, never assume anything, and be ready to move into action.
We got a good example of how that can even carry over into the big leagues on Wednesday afternoon, and the alertness of New York Mets right-hander Dillon Gee paid big dividends as he was able to squash a potential two-out rally in the sixth inning by following those rules, helping to preserve a 5-2 victory.
After dumping a base hit into the Bermuda Triangle in short center field — just in front of a charging Kirk Nieuwenhuis and beyond the reach of middle infielders Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada — Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra decided to get aggressive and attempt stretching it into a double with nobody initially covering the bag. An alert Gee saw the same thing, so he busted it to the base and beat Parra there. He then applied the tag after a good throw from Tejada to end the inning.
It’s a reminder of how important the little details of the game can be, as obviously the complexion of the game could have quickly changed if the inning continues with a running in scoring position.
It’s also a painful reminder for the D-Backs of just how unfortunate their start to the season has been, With the loss, they fall to a league worst 4-14. It‘s certainly not for lack of effort, but sometimes even good effort has to be managed.
On a side note, Gee was removed from the game after seven scoreless with just 72 pitches under his belt. That raised some concern on the Mets broadcast that Gee may have been banged up on the play at second base, but it just turned out that manager Terry Collins didn’t like a couple good swings the Diamondbacks took during his final inning.
Gee’s fine, and he wanted to continue.
''Terry did what he had to do, and I respect it,'' Gee said, ''but I definitely want to keep going.''
Over his seven innings, Gee allowed only three hits to go along with three strikeouts and no walks. An efficient outing in every sense of the term. The win was his first decision in four starts this season and he lowered his ERA to 3.71.
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