Josh Donaldson went into a home run flurry too soon and his latest inability to make a move led to an embarrassing loss during the playoffs.
NEW YORK (AP) — Josh Donaldson didn’t run hard. He wasn’t even able to answer questions on it either.
The veteran slugger started an inning of home runs way too soon, and his most recent failure to make a move was a humiliating loss during the playoffs.
In the fifth innings for the New York Yankees in their AL Division Series opener Tuesday evening, Donaldson sent an opposite-field drive to the right, putting it against Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill with the score at 1-all.
As if the ball was going to be able to clear the short patio at Yankee Stadium, Donaldson put his head down and crossed hands with the first Base coach Travis Chapman as he jogged around the bag.
“I thought for sure it was a home run,” teammate Anthony Rizzo said.
It was a surprise to see Donaldson think about it, but the ball was in play. As a fan wearing an Yankees jersey was reaching for it, the ball bounced off the fence’s edge all the way towards newcomer Oscar Gonzalez, who alertly hit shortstop Amed Rosario, who was at second base.
At the point that Donaldson turned around the ball, he was tangled between second and first. He tried to sprint back to first base, but Rosario throws at First baseman Josh Naylor, who tagged out Donaldson when he swung into the bag headfirst.
“He isn’t the quickest of feet. We have to ensure that we’re getting to the direction we’re supposed where we need to go,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated.
A confused Donaldson looked towards right field and extended his arms. However, replays revealed that the ball didn’t make it to the wall. Video replays confirmed the decision made by the right-field umpire Mark Ripperger that it was not a home run , and the ball remained in the field.
Donaldson was recognized with one.
After the Yankees were victorious the game, he wasn’t accessible to reporters at the clubhouse.
“It’s an individual one down the line that’s like that. It’s like body-language,” Boone said.
“I haven’t even watched the play as of yet, since I was away from certain people to look at the location of the play, because I believed it was a homerun right off the bat. Therefore, I need to examine the play a bit more closely.”
It wasn’t the first time that Donaldson’s lackluster play turned into a problem with the Yankees this season.
In his debut season in the club after he was brought over from Minnesota through a trade in March in 2015, The 2015 AL MVP failed to run fast on a groundout in May. Boone noticed.
“Donaldson probably took his eye off it for a second,” Boone stated at the time. “Now after that, you’ll have to make a statement. I’m not yet saying anything.”
On September. 5 the 36-year-old Donaldson was struck out at second base on an RBI single from the base on the wall in left field. As if he thought he’d hit home, Donaldson broke slowly out of the box. Aaron Judge scored on the play shortly before Donaldson was hit by a tag.
Boone took Donaldson off the ground and had a discussion with Donaldson. Boone sat down and had a conversation with him.
“Let’s not let that happen,” Boone told Donaldson. advised Donaldson.
“I don’t really worry about him from the game or hooked up standpoint; he’s locked in,” the manager explained. “Yeah it’s one of them. You’ve to be sure. You need to make sure.”
New York scored a run in the fifth inning following Donaldson’s error and Rizzo added a home run of two runs in the sixth to lead the team to a 4-1 win.
“I’m glad it didn’t end up hurting us,” Boone said.
Game 2 of the best-of-5 series takes place on Thursday night in Yankee Stadium.
Matt Bateman, a 44-year-old fan from Brooklyn was the one nearest to the drive of Donaldson, who tried to catch the ball.
“It was hit right at us,” Bateman stated. “It seemed like the ball hit the top of the wall. It hit my hand a little bit also, like my fingertip, and it caromed.”