Just when it seemed like Bo Bichette got one past Ronald Acuña in right field, Acuña made a correction that sent Bichette back to the dugout.
Bichette hit a blooper to right in the first inning Wednesday — a dying quail, as old-timers called them — that barely eluded the grasp of Acuña’s reach. Acuña applied the brakes and did a U-turn to retrieve the ball as Bichette rounded first and appeared to be continuing to second. But when Bichette saw how fast Acuña was in collecting the ball, he also put on the brakes, perhaps 20 feet off the bag, and did a u-turn himself. It took him too long to get back.
Acuña’s short-hop throw to Freddie Freeman at first base wasn’t perfect (finally, something about him that isn’t), but it was still incredibly accurate given the time crunch he had to decide which direction to throw. Acuña also could have double-clutched, as others might have, which would have doomed any chance of erasing Bichette.
Freeman made a quick dig and tag and, even though the replay review folks took their time in confirming the call, Bichette was out at first. Single, putout 9-3. He also appeared to jam his left hand upon diving to the bag. If he makes a cleaner slide, Bichette probably makes it safely. That’s the thing playing against Acuña — he gives you very little margin for error.
You have to wonder if center fielder Cristian Pache gave Acuña a head’s up to throw to first base, he was so quick about it.
Bally Sports South analyst Jeff Francoer also made a great point: If Bichette just keeps running to second, he might have had a better chance of beating a theoretical throw there, given Acuña’s positioning on defense.
Enjoy a longer version of the play. Acuña’s quickness in thought and 83.4 mph throw are remarkable. Broadcaster Chip Caray made a great call on TV, and the rise of the crowd when Bichette was called out can be felt through your device. It was a great baseball moment (if you’re not too partial to the Blue Jays). Toronto won the game, by the way, 4-1.
Next time he gets a chance and wants to try his luck advancing, Bichette should do it. Retreating against Ronald Acuña won’t get you anything but thrown out.