ATLANTA -- Javier Baez had been frustrated at the plate, with a pair of groundouts and two strikeouts at SunTrust Park.But on one play in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Braves, Baez fired up the team enough to forget about his day at the plate.With one down in the ninth
ATLANTA -- Javier Baez had been frustrated at the plate, with a pair of groundouts and two strikeouts at SunTrust Park.
But on one play in Thursday's 5-4 win over the Braves, Baez fired up the team enough to forget about his day at the plate.
With one down in the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Ender Inciarte lifted a high popup into no man's land in center field, which was especially dangerous considering how far back center fielder Albert Almora Jr. was playing.
Fearlessly, Baez charged back, ranging 94 feet, according to Statcast™, and made one of his more spectacular over-the-shoulder catches of the season.
"It's one of those weird things when you're sitting in the dugout, you can see the trajectory of the ball, and you know that he's got a shot at it," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Immediately I thought Albert had a shot at it, but he was way too deep. They just cleared out and let Javy go.
"It's on the run, he timed it perfectly, it's not that easy. A lot of times, the ball is going to be bouncing on you when you're running that hard and running away. That is one of the better plays you're going to see."
Baez's range from shortstop was all the more important considering Almora would have had to run 106 feet to make the catch -- giving him a 10 percent catch probability.
The catch had the entire team fired up -- nobody more excited than Almora. The center fielder clapped his hand to his glove before turning around to give a huge fist pump.
"When he made the catch, we were all emotional and excited," Almora said. "We didn't say anything, we just screamed."
Ben Weinrib is a contributor to MLB.com.