Breakdown: Astros’ third base coach Omar Lopez’s intelligent send
On Saturday night, Omar Lopez sent Kyle Tucker on a pickoff move that saved a run for the Astros.
Against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night, the Houston Astros had a run down in the sixth inning that ended with Kyle Tucker being tagged out. This led to two outs in the inning, while Diamondbacks’ pitcher Brandyn Sittinger was looking to get someone else out.
In the at-bat before, Carlos Correa hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Yuli Gurriel from third base, as Tucker advanced to third to possibly stop the defense from throwing home and pushing himself up a base as well.
At first glance, it does look like Gurriel left a second early, which prompted the Diamondbacks to throw over to third in the next at-bat. But with Tucker making a move for home, the Diamondbacks made the play to get the Astros’ left-hander out, cancelling out any chance of getting Gurriel out.
While Lopez doesn’t have any sign or video evidence to see if Gurriel left early, sending Tucker saved a run that would end up helping the team reach extra innings. Lopez has had his moments of difficult sends, but with Gary Pettis testing positive for COVID-19 and not showing any sign of returning to the field this season, Lopez has been a sufficient replacement.
Not all base running mistakes are blamed on coaching, due to mental mistakes by base runners. But a few weeks ago in Kansas City against the Royals, Aledmys Diaz had a similar play on a sacrifice fly. The utility man ran from second to third with two outs to ensure Correa would score from third and break up any a chance of a throw home on the close play.