Listen, I don’t put a lot of stock in what Suzyn Waldman says and most of the time she makes me want to bang my head against the wall, but she does have a point when talking about the play Derek Jeter made against Nick Punto the other day.
In case you forgot already, in the bottom of the 8th inning with the Yankees leading just 2-1 and Punto on second base Denard Span came up and hit a grounder up the middle. Jeter made a good play to get to the ball ranging to his left, took a quick glance at third to check on Punto and spotted him running through the third base coach’s stop sign. Jeter then threw home with enough time for catcher Jorge Posada to nail Punto at third.
It was a spectacular play that not only erased Minnesota’s lead runner, but with his team up by just a single run Jeter kept the Twins from having a runner on third with less than two outs. Had the Yankees not tacked on another two runs in the 9th, if Jeter had just made the routine play to first, it could have cost the Yankees the game.
Here is Waldman’s take on it:
There are many permutations of what could have happened on the Nick Punto play if the ball isn’t in the hands of Derek Jeter.
Some of them:
Ball is thrown over the catcher’s head, run scores.
Ball is cut off by the pitcher who drops the ball, run scores.
Ball goes past the third baseman, run scores…….I’ll let you make up your own here….to all that don’t understand what the Captain means to this team? Get your head out of the sabr-metric-books and watch a game once in a while!
Again she’s right. The play in this situation is definitely at first base. It’s rare for there to be a play at third base when a batter slaps the ball up the middle with a runner on second base. Punto made a big error rounding third base like he did especially with less than two outs and your team down just one run in the 8th inning. He probably would have gotten away with it too if he had not hit it to Derek Jeter.