One of the many things that makes life easier for pitchers is when they have an incredibly talented defense behind them to mop up the mistakes they created in the first place. It’s something that Oakland’s Brett Anderson understands now more than ever since he saw his teammates do just that on Sunday against the Blue Jays. But instead of the sigh of relief, or tip of the cap, that usually follows those clean-ups, he was emphatically celebrating. That’s because Anderson also understands when he’s just witnessed one of the most incredible plays that a team could possibly pull off.
The play that evoked such emotion started with Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano robbing a potential two-run homer after he chased the fly ball deep into center field.
But that wasn’t enough for Laureano. He then tried to pull the double play, and threw the ball as hard as he could to first base to try and nab Toronto’s Justin Smoak, who didn’t tag up. His arm strength proved to be a bit too much this time around and he overthrew the base by a solid margin. As Smoak started running from first to second, Oakland catcher Nick Hundley scooped up the ball right before it reached the Blue Jays’ dugout and smoothly threw the ball to second to turn the 8-2-6 double play.
You can take your pick of the litter for what the most impressive part of that play was. There was the jump that very few, if any, outfielders in the league could pull off, the Matthew Stafford-like throw that pretty much went the distance of the near-home run that Laureano robbed (with Stafford’s accuracy as an added bonus), Hundley’s hustle to get the ball before it rolled out of play, or even his off-balance throw.
Personally, I’m going with Anderson’s cheerleading in the corner of it all because the guy deserves some credit for what happened. If you think about it, the play doesn’t even happen if he doesn’t throw the pitch that Teoscar Hernandez absolutely smokes.