Phillies starter Vince Velasquez and four relievers held a banged-up and disappointing Nationals lineup to just two hits in Saturday’s 3-1 Phillies victory. The Nats engineered eight walks in the game, but left eight runners on base and were 0-3 with runners in scoring position. They did, however, put speedster Trea Turner on base in the bottom of the ninth with no outs, a perfectly adequate start for one last long-shot chance at a rally.
And that is when Phillies second baseman Pedro Florimon ruined the Nats with some cool-ass old-school trickery:
Turner is running on the play, but the ball is popped a mile high, and under the majority of circumstances Turner would’ve had plenty of time to jog back to first. But Florimon executes a fully committed catch and tag fake, and even holds the tag on Turner as if waiting for the umpire to rule on whether he’d left the base on his slide. By the time Turner realizes the ball has been caught just steps from the damn infield, it’s too late. Turner apparently didn’t hear what he needed to hear in order to process that the ball had been hit, although this explanation falls short of explaining why he didn’t hear a stadium full of people shouting at him:
“Usually, I hear the ball off the bat, so a lot of times if I hear it, I’ll look up,” Turner said. “I didn’t hear it that time.”
Turner’s mistake made what happened next all the more brutal: Michael A. Taylor walked and stole second, then a wild pitch moved Taylor to third, but the rally petered out on a Wilmer Difo strikeout. Obviously no one can say what would’ve happened if Turner hadn’t been doubled up, but clearly Phillies closer Hector Neris wasn’t very sharp, and the Nats crapped away a great chance to take advantage, on a terrible base-running error.
This took a pretty galling lack of awareness from Turner, but it’s also just an awesome, savvy move from a slick veteran infielder, and how can you be mad at that?