Caught Sleeping

Josh Harrison had an infield double in today’s game (click on the link to view the video). Below is a screen cap at the exact point that Harrison takes off for 2nd base.


The ball was hit into the hole and Castro threw to 1st. Darwin Barney raced behind the bag to back it up and was in foul territory as Harrison took off for 2nd. The question here is this: whose responsibility is it to cover 2nd base? It’s not exactly clear. Barney can’t possibly do it as he’s backing up 1st. That leaves Starlin Castro, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan  Dempster. None of them are paying any attention at all, but Castro is over there kicking dirt, which is the same thing Ramirez is doing. Castro was clearly capable of covering 2nd base, or at least heading back in that direction after throwing it to 1st. That would have kept Harrison at 1st base. You usually don’t see a pitcher cover 2nd base. A 3rd baseman will on a shift and Ramirez undoubtedly should have been paying more attention, but when you vacate your base as Castro did, you have to pay attention and make sure someone is there. If someone isn’t, you need to get there yourself.

There’s probably some blame to go around between Ramirez, Dempster and Castro, but the bulk of it has to fall on Castro on this particular play. I’m curious what Mike Quade said about this, if anything. All I really know is that it’s not often you see an entire infield not paying attention to the runner. Usually on plays like this one of them is yelling at someone else (like Jeff Samarzija did not long ago).