Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The title of this post is false, yet it is the premise that everybody is saying: "Ryan Raburn should have not gambled and should have just played the ball into a single, kept the double play in order and forced the Twins to do more to score the tying run." To this I again say false. It wasn't the thought process of going for the ball that was Raburn's issue, it was his execution which was horrendous. This ball could have and perhaps should have been caught.
First and foremost, Raburn got a slow jump on the ball at best. He was a bit tentative and was unsure if he was going to get to the ball, so he was indecisive. But eventually he realized he was going to get to the ball and did this:
As you can see in the above screen capture, Raburn does the old feet first slide catch. This gives you a bit more body control than the face first version and is a better play for keeping the ball in front of you. The issue again isn't with the decision, it's with the execution. When Raburn goes after the ball, he does not properly align his body with the flight of the ball, this in turn places it a few feet to his left, high enough to be caught but completely out of his reach. It is especially out of his reach thanks to the fact that he gator armed the play as well.
So to recap everything, this ball was most certainly catchable, Raburn's issue wasn't with deciding to go after it, it was with his execution. Raburn got a poor jump, but still a good enough jump to get to the ball while it was still in the air. The poor jump lead to him taking a poor angle on the ball. The poor angle resulted in a slide/attempt that had little to no chance either making a successful catch or at minimum keeping the ball in front. As a result, Raburn looked like he made a foolish decision when in actuality he turned what would have been a fine decision into a poor one.