Tyler Rogers

How Rogers' nifty move helped Giants extend winning streak

NBC Universal, Inc.

Every day in the spring, dozens of Giants players gather on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium to listen as coaches go over some of the minor details of the game. You wouldn't blame any of them if minds started to wander.

A lot of the plays that are explained in February and March are never actually used in games. Some of it is experimentation, and many of the players standing around in those groups will spend the whole year in the minors, or be cut before the season even starts. A lot of the veterans would probably rather be preparing for an early-afternoon tee time.

But sometimes, those tiny details can win you a game. 

That was the case Tuesday night in Cincinnati, when reliever Tyler Rogers used a nifty inside move to pick off Elly De La Cruz with no outs in the ninth, saving the game an inning before Camilo Doval entered for the official save. The Giants went on to win 4-2, extending their streak to six wins, including four on this road trip.

The move was called from the bench, and it baffled an electric rookie who had already shown twice why it was so important to get him off of second base.

De La Cruz had a sprint speed of 31.7 feet/second -- well beyond what is considered elite -- in his first at-bat, which came Monday night, a couple of hours before the rain did. A few minutes before Rogers picked him off, he had bolted down to second with such speed and ferocity that he slid in safely even though catcher Patrick Bailey had a pop time of 1.78 on his throw, his best of the year.

There were a number of ways that De La Cruz could have won the game after reaching second. The Reds looked poised to bunt him to third, and just about any ball to the outfield after that likely would have ended it. Even a bunt would have put tremendous pressure on the defense, given that De La Cruz stole home just a few days ago. 

Instead, Rogers erased him -- with a little help from the bench. Third base coach Mark Hallberg is in charge of the running game and picked the perfect time to put a play on.

"It's something that we've worked so hard on," manager Gabe Kapler told reporters in Cincinnati. "Having a sellable, inside move that baserunners will actually buy is a huge emphasis for us."

Rogers never uses his, which perhaps added to the effectiveness. It was a funky move, with the submariner bending at the waist and then quickly pivoting and firing the ball to Casey Schmitt, who started a successful rundown. 

"I just kind of let it happen," Rogers said. 

The reliever cruised through the rest of the inning and the lineup came through with a fourth late-innings rally in four games. Joc Pederson drove in the go-ahead run and De La Cruz and the Reds lost their fifth straight. They're a team that's even more reliant on rookies than the Giants are, and sometimes that will lead to game-swinging mistakes. Rogers, Hallberg and the Giants took advantage. 

"I think he was over-aggressive," Wilmer Flores said on NBC Sports Bay Area's postgame show. "We made the right call with an inside move and we got him."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Contact Us