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Game Changers: Why Missing Home Plate Means A Loss

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Game Changers: Why Missing Home Plate Means A Loss
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Last night, the eighth inning for the Orioles did not go so well.

The game was tied at one, and had been close all the way through.

It was very apparent that this game was going to be decided by one the swing of the bat.

But this time, it was a swing of a bat and a body that missed home plate.

After putting Andy Petite in a bit of a jam, with runners on second and third, Joe Girardi replaced Petite with Phil Coke.

Coke has been absolutely stunning out of the bullpen of late, and was figured to be able to get the job done in this sticky situation.

Coke gave up a ground ball to Mark Teixeira, who fired the ball to Jose Molina, who then tagged Caesar Izturis for the second out of the eighth.

Teixeira’s throw was gold glove worthy, as he was off balance, but it wasn't even the best defensive play of the game.

That one goes to the play directly after it, when a wild pitch from Coke was chased down by Molina, tossed back to Coke covering, and ended up making Brian Roberts the final out.

The ball was clearly far enough away from home plate that Roberts should have had the run easy, but apparently he did not get a great jump on his way home.

On top of that, he slid wide of the plate, and attempted to stretch his leg out to touch it.

Coke had enough sight on the play to notice Roberts was nowhere near the plate with the upper-half of his body, and quickly slapped a tag on Roberts, turning a potential game-changer, into an out.

The play, of course, was a two-part effort, combining Coke's tag with an amazing throw, while falling down, by Jose Molina.

Thus completes another situation where a game decided by a walk off home run, could have been changed by a simple play of heads-up base running.

If Roberts' gets a better jump on the base path and doesn't completely miss the plate, the Orioles could have won the game.

Girardi said of the inning, "you don't make those plays, you don't necessarily win the game."

And oh how right he is.

Check out this video for the best angle of Robert's missing the plate and the amazed look on his face after being called out by the Umpire.

His face said something like "Really, I'm out?”

I was watching saying, "Really, you missed the plate?"

 

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