Rather than grading Buster Posey an "F" for failing to tag Jason Heyward in the sixth inning on Tuesday night, he should get an incomplete. Because the difference between Heyward being out and safe was all about Posey not following through.
Heyward looked like he was going to be out by 30 feet after Freddie Freeman hit a bloop single to right, but he somehow contorted his 6-foot-5 frame and eluded a poor tag by Posey. Umpire Ed Hickox, though the play was reviewed, had it right the entire way.
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy called it afterward: The changes in the rules about sliding and tagging at home plate — which were inspired partially by Posey's gruesome injury in 2011 — have changed the way runners are sliding.
“He just missed the tag. … These slides are getting creative. This is not the first time we’ve missed a tag. It’s a case where he just missed him. You do all you can to get the glove on him, whether it’s at second or third or home. … He was in a pretty good position. He had two hands going at him. It caused his reach maybe to be a little short there. But you learn from it and that’s all you can do.
“It’s one of those plays he thought he had him easily. We learn from this. Maybe take a little more (of the plate) away to make sure that we do have the coverage before he hits home plate.”
Heyward's slide was a key moment in a 5-0 victory for the Atlanta Braves, who beat the Giants for the first time in five attempts in 2014.
Reporter Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area criticized Posey — pretty sharply — for being slow to adjust to the new ways in general. Baggarly isn't wrong, but all it should take is Posey being a little more authoritative. Like Bochy (once a catcher, always a catcher) says, take a little more of the plate away from the runner. Cut them off at the pass. He had the ball in plenty of time. Posey just has to remember: The rules protect him now. He can go get the runner without having to worry about the next Scott Cousins.
All he has to worry about is following through.
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