It might not have mattered because catcher Yadier Molina made such a quick throw, but pinch runner Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates attempted his slide a little early in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday.
Almost Willie Mays Hayes from "Major League" early.
Harrison was trying to get into scoring position against the St. Louis Cardinals with his team down a run in Game 4 of the NLDS. After the Pirates had been no-hit for 7 1/3 innings by rookie Michael Wacha, pinch hitter Jose Tabata stood in against another rookie, right-hander Carlos Martinez. With a 2-1 count, Harrison took off for second, Tabata waved and missed for strike two and Molina heaved to Matt Carpenter covering in front of the the bag, and putting the tag down.
It's possible that, if Harrison hadn't started to slide so soon, he might have beaten the tag to the bag. Instead, the Pirates last and best chance to tie the score scampered back into the dugout. It's also possible Harrison didn't merely misjudge the physical distance he had to go to reach second, but mentally he panicked because Molina has such a great reputation throwing guys out. He's the one after whom they market "Yadier Freakin' Mind?!" T-shirts over at JoeSportsFan, after all.
"Perhaps," Harrison thought, "I AM out of my mind for trying this."
The Cardinals won 2-1 and prevented the Bucs from winning a playoff series for the first time since 1979. Game 5 is Wednesday in St. Louis (but sliding practice is Tuesday).