Vladimir Guerrero is Safe at Home

I watched Ron Washington’s Game 5 post game press conference and he stated the following:

We have a very aggressive team, and tonight we took advantage of some things, a ground ball double play Vladimir [Guerrero]. What else do we have to do but come around the bag and keep running? If it’s a double play, the inning is over anyway.

I thought Vlad had slowed down when rounding third base, so I went back and looked at the video to see if Vlad was hustling the entire time to get home or was he waiting to see how the play at first base unfolded.

The video of the play does give a few hints confirming if Vlad was heading home once he left second base as Ron Washington stated or was Vlad looking for some other clue to go home.

First of all, there was no visual clues that third base coach, Dave Anderson, was sending Vlad home as soon as he left second base (45 seconds into the video).

vladbases1

No arms windmilling- nothing. Anderson simplywalks slowly closer to third base.

Second, Vlad is not hustling home with 100% effort like Ron Washington mentioned in the press conference. About three steps from third base he begins to slow down to a jog and continues at this pace for few steps after touching third base. During this same time he is watching the play at first base unfold.

vladbases2

Finally, Vlad never actually put his head down and ran home with 100% effort until he saw Kinsler was safe at first base.

I am not sure what event that actually caused him to decide to head home with 100% effort. I first thought he may have been too far off the bag to make it back to third base safely if David Price decided to throw to third base, so Vlad decided to try to score. After watching the video a few times, I think he could have easily made it back to third base.

Maybe it was Texas’s plan to have their runners always round third base on possible double plays with one out and try to score. If this was the case, I think Dave Anderson would have been waving Vlad home once the ball was thrown to first. Instead, both seemed to be watching the the play at first base.

I actually think either Vlad and/or Dave Anderson knew that David Price had a propensity to ignore base runners when covering first base as seen earlier in the game. Once they saw that Ian Kinsler was safe and Price had his back to the play, Vlad headed home to try to score. There is no way from the footage to tell which one made the decision. Anderson was about 6 feet away from Vlad when Vlad decided to head home. He could have easily kept the instructions somewhat quiet in order for David Price not to hear them or Vlad could have made the decision on his own. There is just no way to tell either way for sure.

Ron Washington can claim that Vlad was heading home no matter what due to the Rangers aggressive base running, but I don’t think that is the case on this play. Instead it was a heads up play by some combination of the base runner Vladimir Guerrero and the third base coach Dave Anderson.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

24 Responses to “Vladimir Guerrero is Safe at Home”

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  1. Bizarro RJ says:

    This is some very aggresive writing by Jeff. What choice does he have but to take shots at the Rangers right here? The fangraph team has been a big backer of the Rays all year, and now that they are out of it and are facing losing some core members of the team. So Jeff and the other the writers need to aggresively attack the victors in this series.

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    • Piccamo says:

      You’re right. We shouldn’t call out people when they say one thing, yet it’s completely wrong. We should just say “the Rangers won, they can rewrite history”.

      FanGraphs hasn’t been favorable to one team over another. They have commented on all teams throughout the season. The writers are still fans and each has their own preferred teams and so some bias will come through in those cases. This is not one of them.

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      • Bizarro RJ says:

        False. There was clearly a slight bias in this offseason. Go look at all the write ups after games 1 and 2 and tell me where the Rangers write up was/is .

        If the writers want to call out managers on thinks they say after a game that is incorrect, or makes no sense, then they would have an endless series of articles to write. Picking on the Rangers, and Washington, after they won their first ever playoff series is weak sauce

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      • Piccamo says:

        You come off as whiny and annoying. Why do you need validation and praise for a team from a bunch of writers on the Internet? The game reviews heap plenty of praise on the victors.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/alds-game-one-review-texas/
        “Led by a typical Cliff Lee playoff pitching performance — 10 K’s, 12 retired in a row at one point…”

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/alds-game-five-review-texas/
        “Credit due to Vladimir Guerrero for a heads-up play, the guts to take it, and a fantastic slide.”

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/alds-game-five-review-tampa-bay/
        “Congrats to the Rangers, who now advance to the ALCS.”

        I’m not sure what more you want.

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      • phoenix says:

        i agree that this is a compliment to vlad and anderson and in no way an insult. i will say though, that they can be biased sometimes against certain teams. example? fangraphs hates the yankees. constantly trashing everything that jeter does on the baseball field, and during this previews and reviews of postseason games, the yankees have half the previews/reviews that any other team has. they enjoy much more writing from other team’s points of view and explaining how they can beat the yankees. i am not really upset about it because i understand that everyone loves the underdogs and no matter if the yankees had 88 wins against a 105 win team in the playoffs, the yankees will never be considered underdogs because of their payroll and their history. im not saying that this is that much of a bad thing, because its only human to have preferences, and its just not as much fun to analyze how cc is gonna go 8 solid innings, pettitte is old news in the postseason, and hughes isnt that exciting, while no one needs to be told that arod and tex can mash. to recap: this piece was not biased, some pieces are, but its not too big of a deal.

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  2. Mike Green says:

    Yeah, it was a particularly vicious compliment to Guerrero and Anderson in the conclusion. Maybe nations can copy this technique in lieu of going to war.

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  3. Rut says:

    I don’t think Jeff was taking a cheap shot at the Rangers here. Washington said one thing occurred and some analysis shows something else occurred. Washington could be wrong about how the play unfolded, and given this article, it seems he was.

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    • Also, think about trying to remember every single play of a game. Humans’ memories are pretty cloudy. Washington’s quote doesn’t definitively say, in my opinion, that they had talked about coming around third hard on double play opportunities. He may just have been reflecting on the play, making a general comment before looking at film, almost as if defending Vlad’s/Anderson’s decision to go.

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    • Friendly neighborhood critic says:

      I agree that Jeff wasn’t taking any cheap shots at the Rangers in this post. He did, however, manage to get in a few blows against standard English grammar:

      “The video of the play does give a few hints confirming if Vlad was heading home once he left second base as Ron Washington stated or was Vlad looking for some other clue to go home.”

      “First of all, there was no visual clues…”

      “I am not sure what event that actually caused him to decide to head home with 100% effort.”

      Great analysis, though! I criticize because I love…

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  4. Evan says:

    From what I remember watching the play, it certainly looked like Vlad went based on what he saw happening at first. Price wasn’t paying attention and Vlad probably figured Price hadn’t learned from his mistake earlier in the game.

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  5. theonemephisto says:

    It also might’ve been that Andrus had scored from second on a very similar play, so they had it fresh in their minds that Price wasn’t going to pay attention to Vlad.

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    • rawlingshoh says:

      Andrus definitely set an example for Vlad and the rest of the team. Although he still lagged, Price also learned from Andrus’s play and was actually able to attempt to throw out Vlad. Note that on the first play with Andrus, if Pena had made the best heads up play possible decided to actually hustle take the bag himself he may have had a shot at throwing out Andrus at the plate.

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  6. John says:

    I think this post is a little ridiculous. Regardless of whether Vlad’s intentions were to go home from the start of the play or until he actually started running 100%, it is still very aggressive play like Washington said the Rangers do. It was smart aggressive baseball rather than just running like a maniac they were aggressive in running plays they thought they could win. Sure enough they win. Touche to Washington and the Rangers.

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  7. The Gut says:

    Ridiculous post. The Rangers always run the bases in stealth mode to throw off the opponent.

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  8. mcneo says:

    The replay video above is inconclusive, but when I watched the replay on television right after the play, it appeared that Ian Kinsler was out. David Price clearly thought so, and although his turn to the plate wasn’t great, there’s no doubt he thought he made the play as he took a step toward the ump. Vlad Guerrero’s run to home never should have mattered.

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    • Hunter says:

      It’s actually suprising to me we haven’t heard more wailing and gnashing of teeth on the Kinsler-safe-at-first call. The outrage on the Berkman strike, the Carlos Pena foul, and the Michael Young checked swing seemed much higher, but the Kinsler call was just as big a gaffe.

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      • WY says:

        I think it’s because there wasn’t a good camera angle on the Kinsler play. There’s really know way to clearly tell what happened.

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      • Jeff Zimmerman says:

        I agree that there were no good angles. With the video available, I couldn’t tell one way or another.

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      • blackout says:

        Yeah, hard to tell if Price got his right foot to the bag in time. And the step he took toward the ump to protest is what allowed Vlad to score.

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      • blackout says:

        It’s interesting that A.J. Burnett similarly allowed a runner to score from second while arguing a safe call at 1B recently. Checking the runner before disputing the call is as basic as running out every ball that’s put in play (lookin’ at you Alex Gonzalez).

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  9. MYoung says:

    Something that a lot of people missed — There was an angle during the broadcast which showed Anderson pointing toward home with his left hand (I think it was), a very subtle gesture. My guess is that this statement is correct: “I actually think either Vlad and/or Dave Anderson knew that David Price had a propensity to ignore base runners when covering first base as seen earlier in the game.” Washington simply doesn’t want to advertise that they found this, they might need it again in the future.

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    • James says:

      I think this is correct – that the Rangers saw an advantage due to another player’s sloppy tendencies and don’t want to advertise it. They could have any number of reasons to hide the truth: to build up their own team (“we won because we ran aggressively”), sportsmanship/coachspeak instead of calling out an opponent (when is the last time you heard a coach single out a weakness of another team?), or to maintain an advantage in the future (it was good for two go-ahead/game-winning runs).

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      • Hunter says:

        This. Ron Washington isn’t going to say, “Well, we identified that David Price had a flaw in his fielding technique so we told our guys to take a look and exploit it if they could.”

        So he might be glossing over the truth as part of the typical press conference BS.

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  10. JTC says:

    Obviously a slow news day at Fangraphs. A professional manager possibly being less than truthful to the press? Amazing.

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