Thursday, November 30 2023

Blake Sabol is one of the Giants’ better baserunners, though the versatile rookie didn’t quite look the part in the team’s 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Oracle Park.

The play of the game came in the eighth inning, as the Giants attempted to mount their third straight come-from-behind win over the NL West-leading Diamondbacks. Down 4-2 with J.D. Davis on first, Sabol drew a two-out walk — then was thrown out on the basepaths to end the inning after misreading Patrick Bailey‘s single during the following at-bat.

Inning over, and potential comeback cut short. After the loss, Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters he watched the play several times and spoke to Sabol about what the rookie could have done differently.

“[Sabol] runs around second base as he’s supposed to, so he attacks second base hard with his head up, puts his head down around second base, looks up and sees [Diamondbacks third baseman Evan Longoria] on the grass, right,” Kapler explained. “He also hears the crowd getting really loud, and he’s making the assumption that the ball’s down the left field line.

“In his brain, he’s thinking about scoring. He’s a very, very aggressive baserunner. He has been the entire season for us. Maybe a little bit over aggressive, but I think if there was any feedback to give Blake, that would be it.”

Kapler noted that so far in Sabol’s first Giants season, he’s run the bases very well. The 25-year-old’s Extra Bases Taken Percentage, defined by Baseball Reference as the percentage of times a runner advances more than one base on a single and more than two bases on a double, is 68 percent — the best on the team among players with at least 50 plate appearances.


“Look, we can’t make those types of baserunning errors,” Kapler continued. “If it happens often, it’s really going to hurt us. I also think it’s kind of fair to give Blake the benefit of the doubt here, call it a very aggressive and perhaps over aggressive baserunning mistake, but not make too much of it, turn the page and get ready for Toronto.”

Sabol is still young and learning, and he showed his maturity in the eighth inning by turning a 2-2 count into a two-out walk in a huge spot. And after Sunday’s loss, the rookie still is hitting .353 across his last seven games including two RBI in Saturday’s 7-6 win.

He told reporters after the game what was going through his mind on the basepaths, explaining that the crowd noise made him think Bailey’s single had gotten past Longoria and down the left field line.

“I thought it got through, maybe had a chance to score, tie up the game,” Sabol said. “So I had my head down rounding second. When I picked my head up, I was looking to the outfield … saw [Diamondbacks left fielder Corbin Carroll] running by the line, but I didn’t pick up the ball.


“I finally picked up third when I was already over halfway there. Longo was still laying on the ground this whole time, so I thought, maybe, foul ball. Then, that’s when it hit me. I was like, ‘Well, I’m in trouble.’ ”

Sabol described the play as a learning experience, and it nearly was a moot point by the ninth inning as the Giants got the tying run to the plate but failed to capitalize.

But Sabol and the rest of his teammates can hold their heads high as MLB’s hottest team since May 1, and winners of their last four series. Now, they’ll look to make it five as they kick off a six-game road trip by facing the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.


“I feel like the team’s playing really good baseball,” Sabol said. “We were in that game, for the most part, all the way until the end.

“I think we’re really excited by the brand of baseball we’re putting out there right now.”

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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