The Los Angeles Angels have had some serious baserunning issues of late. Or to put that more accurately, first baseman Justin Bour has had some serious issues.
The offseason addition made headlines last weekend for his disastrous adventure on the bases against the Chicago Cubs. On Friday, Bour managed to top that blunder without even running. And thanks to a heads up Seattle Mariners infield, it may have cost the Angels the game.
Call it a brain cramp. Call it a concession to frustration. Call it whatever you like. Bour simply decided to not run out his infield popup during the eighth inning. That allowed Seattle second baseman Dee Gordon to orchestrate the smartest — and perhaps the most unconventional — 5-6-3 double play you will ever see.
In the words of Bour himself, it was "embarrassing.”
The gaffe killed an eighth-inning rally that saw Los Angeles tie the game on Mike Trout's two-run home run. Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch to keep the line moving. That set the stage for Bour, who had already singled twice, pushing his batting average over .200 for the first time this season.
Pinch-runner Brian Goodwin was off with the pitch on an apparent hit-and-run attempt. Goodwin was steps away from second base when he realized Bour had popped up. The pop up was so high, he actually made it back to first base easily. With Bour not running, however, it was all for naught.
Gordon, it turns out, was aware of everything. He yelled at third baseman Ryon Healy, who was shifted to the right side, to let the ball drop. Once it did, the double play was a mere formality.
“Dee yelled at me, he said, ‘Let it drop! Let it drop! Let it drop!” Healy recalled. “I let it drop and from there I picked the ball up, and I looked at first, and I looked at Dee and I said, ‘OK, what do I do now?’ He said, ‘Throw it to second,’ so I said, ‘OK.’ So I threw it to second and all of a sudden we had the double play.”
“I felt like he was just playing ‘MLB The Show’ and he just controlled me on a little controller,” Healy said. “But it was awesome.”
There was a different feeling in the Angels clubhouse. Manager Brad Ausmus described the scenario bluntly.
Ausmus on Bour: “That’s the kind of thing you learn in Little League... It’ll never happen again.” #Angels
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 20, 2019
Bour didn’t elaborate on whether he lost track of outs or simply zoned out. To his credit, he did at least own the mistake.
Justin Bour: “There’s no excuse for that. It’s the first thing you learn when you start playing baseball...there’s no sugarcoating it.
“That was terrible. It’s a joke.”
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) April 20, 2019
You have to wonder if this mistake might cost Bour some playing time.
Making matters worse for the Angels, they ended up losing their fifth game in a row. Tim Beckham and Omar Narváez hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning to give the Mariners a 5-3 victory.
The win keeps Seattle in a first-place tie atop the AL West at 15-8. The 8-12 Angels are last in the division with an already shrinking margin for error.
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