In the bottom of the fourth inning, Josh Donaldson hits a fly ball to Anthony Gose in right-centre field. Gose catches the ball but fogets the number of outs and does not throw the ball back to the infield promptly. Ryan Goins tags and scores from second base.
The mental error provided the Blue Jays with an extra run and demonstrated how players, teammates and coaches can work together to stay focused.
Players: Goins knows that he will tag up on a fly ball and notices correctly that the ball will not go over Gose’s head so he returns to second immediately. He scans the field over the shoulder and runs at full speed – not simply fast enough to get to third. When Goins turns and sees the coach’s signal, he can round third and maintain his speed. Goins did not settle for a single base and when his opponent made an error, he was ready to take advantage and score.
Gose did not get behind the ball so that he could make a good throw on the catch. He obviously lost track of the number of outs and continues to jog casually; when he finally turns around, there is no play. If he had executed the little things, Gose probably would not have thrown Goins out at third but he would have saved a run.
Coaches: Third Base Coach Luis Rivera reads the play and decides quickly to send the runner. He doesn’t assume anything and observes Gose as he is fielding. Rivera’s signal is enthusiastic and clear, sending the runner around third base at full speed. Coaches should help players get every little advantage possible and insist that every play is performed at high intensity and quality.
Teammates: Firstly, the Detroit outfielders should have gotten on the same page beforehand, calling out “one out!” after Troy Tulowitski struck out. The first out was somewhat awkward as Tulowitski was caught looking and Goins stole second on a missed hit and run play. As Gose fielded the fly ball, the right fielder Tyler Collins should have told him Goins was tagging and someone should have yelled “cut off!” so Gose could throw it to the second baseman and limit Goins to one base.
Standing around staring at each other afterwards accomplished nothing but communicating before and during the play would have saved a run.
In the dugout, Toronto players congratulated Donaldson and Goins for the successful execution of a single play, as their communication has been exemplary during the past month.