Hinch: Springer's hustle not an issue

Astros manager: Play was more 'mediocre baserunning' than 'egregious showboating'

October 23rd, 2019

HOUSTON -- was so bothered by his baserunning at a key point in Game 1 of the World Series that he telephoned Astros manager AJ Hinch late Tuesday to go over the play. He followed up that conversation by meeting with Hinch on Wednesday afternoon before Game 2.

Springer was upset after getting postgame questions suggesting his lack of hustle may have cost the Astros a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Here’s how it played out: With Kyle Tucker on second base and the Astros trailing 5-3 with one out, Springer hit a towering fly ball to right-center field.

Springer may have thought the ball was headed out of the park, so he didn’t run at full speed out of the box. But the ball ended up bouncing off the wall with Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton almost making a highlight-reel catch.

Springer wound up with a run-scoring double. Had he gotten to third, he probably would have scored when followed with a fly ball to right. Instead, Springer was stranded at second, and the Astros lost Game 1 to the Nationals, 5-4.

“I think George got caught up in the moment of the play, in the anxiousness to see if the ball was leaving,” Hinch said. “It wasn't an egregious showmanship kind of pimp job, as they call it. It was a delay in reading the play correctly to where, once he started running, he ran into Tucker, who was coming back to tag up because Eaton looked like he was camped underneath the ball.

“So [in] the collision course of making a decision, George didn't give himself the longest chance to make it. He had to make a snap decision based on where he was at the time in which the play had matured, and the ball had gone off the wall.”

Hinch said he hadn’t examined the play when he was asked about it after the game. Likewise, Springer told reporters that he could not have made it to third, thinking his hustle out of the box wasn’t an issue.

“I saw a couple of things wrong with that play in that kind of perfect things aligned for, ultimately, I guess a mediocre baserunning play,” Hinch said. “Tucker, on the other hand, was trying to make an aggressive play by making sure if Eaton had caught the ball that he was going to advance to third base and kind of steal an extra 90 feet. ...

"In a perfect world, he gives himself a better chance to make a later decision by getting into the play a little faster. It was [more] a mediocre baserunning play than an egregious showboating play.

"All in all, that's not the reason we lost. We had a lot of opportunities. We’ll never know."