Javier Baez is a magician with the glove.
The Chicago Cubs shortstop has amazed us time and time again with his range, arm and, perhaps most notably, his instincts.
The latter of those were on full display again Saturday as the two-time All-Star helped secure a 6-5 victory against the San Diego Padres with an incredible no-look tag on a Wil Myers stolen-base attempt in the ninth inning.
Only one shortstop in baseball makes plays like this. pic.twitter.com/zw5K06NlZ5
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 20, 2019
It was a thing of beauty.
The throw from catcher Victor Caratini appeared to have some slice, which took it more toward first base. That wasn’t a problem for Baez. He effortlessly glided across, snatched the baseball and in one quick motion slapped a tag on Myers’ ankle the instant before his hand reached second base.
The tag prevented San Diego from putting the tying run in scoring position. Two batters later, closer Craig Kimbrel got Manny Machado to end the game.
Perhaps technically it wasn’t a game saver. But it certainly helped Chicago avoid drama and improve to 7-1 since the All-Star break.
He’s done it before
A no-look tag might seem like a once-in-a-career moment. For Baez, it’s become almost normal.
His most notable came during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He applied a no-look tag on a stolen-base attempt while celebrating the throw from catcher Yadier Molina.
He also did it last month in a game against Molina’s St. Louis Cardinals.
Both of those were more of a “routine” no-look tag. Saturday’s required some extra work.
As for the offensive star in the Cubs’ victory?
That, too, was Javier Baez.
His three-run home run in the fourth inning gave Chicago a lead that it would never relinquish. Baez now leads the Cubs with 24 homers and 67 RBIs.
With the victory, the Cubs extended their NL Central lead to three games.
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