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).
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.
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.