A funny thing happened to Mike Napoli as he attempted to start a possible double play on Friday night. The hard-hit, one-hop grounder off the bat of Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez got stuck in the webbing of his glove, which forced Napoli to react quickly and think even quicker to pull off one of the more unusual looking double plays you'll see.
It may have also required some luck, of which Napoli got plenty thanks to Miguel Cabrera's baserunning.
We recently saw a similar play with Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. Because of positioning, Abreu was forced to toss his glove to the pitcher covering for the out. In Napoli's case, he was positioned right on the line, which allowed him to stab the baseball and step on first base in one motion for the first out. That part was pretty easy.
It was at this point that he turned to make the throw to second base and realized the baseball was stuck and stuck good in his glove. Under normal circumstances, that would have severely lessened the chances for a double play on the spot, because he would have had to run to second base with his glove to beat the runner. That actually would have been very interesting with Miguel Cabrera running, and perhaps even doable, but it was not necessary since Cabrera got caught up in no man's land.
Despite having a good view of the play, it appeared he wasn't quite sure if Napoli caught the ball in the air or on the hop, so his first reaction was to freeze, and then he charged back to first base where Napoli simply applied the tag to complete an unassisted double play.
It's either that reason, or perhaps Cabrera thought by freezing that he could goad Napoli into making a throw or start a rundown since he was already dead to rights in his mind. It probably wouldn't have worked anyway, but he had no chance with Napoli holding the ball.
Cabrera's reaction to the play pretty much said it all.
Well, that's just the way the ball bounces, Miggy. Sometimes it goes your way. Sometimes it doesn't. But at least the outcome went Detroit's way. They held on for a 1-0 victory behind Max Scherzer.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
- - - - - - -