Statcast all over Springer's defensive gem
With his Astros pushing hard for a postseason berth, George Springer came through with what was one of the biggest plays of the day on Saturday, and Statcast™ has it covered with all the impressive details.
With a runner on and Houston trying to protect a 1-0 lead over the D-backs, Springer robbed Aaron Hill of a hit, laying out for a diving catch. Springer covered 57.2 feet, with his speed topping out at 19.4 mph. A route efficiency of 97.6 percent helped the second-year outfielder reach Hill's liner in just 3.1 seconds.
The significance of Springer's catch was only magnified by the Astros' status as contenders for both the American League West crown and one of the two AL Wild Card spots. With the win, the Astros pulled to within one game of the AL West-leading Rangers and the AL Wild Card-leading Yankees, and they remained one game ahead of the Angels for the second Wild Card spot.
On Sunday, the Astros can still force a tiebreaker for the division title or clinch a spot in the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, but they cannot be eliminated on the final scheduled day of the regular season. The worst-case scenario would have Houston playing a tiebreaker with the Angels on Monday for a Wild Card spot.
Here's an in-depth look at some Statcast™ data from a few other plays on Saturday:
Tomlinson knocks an inside-the-park homer
Kelby Tomlinson's second big league home run never left the park. In the first inning against the Rockies, the Giants' rookie second baseman lined a 1-1 fastball 344.8 feet into the right-field gap, just out of reach of center fielder Corey Dickerson, who couldn't come up with the catch despite a route efficiency of 97.8 percent.
The ball then bounced to the wall, where Dickerson tracked it down and relayed it to second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who threw home from short center. LeMahieu's toss was on the mark, but not in time as Tomlinson slid headfirst into home for the first run of the game. It was the first inside-the-park home run by a Giants player since Angel Pagan hit one on May 25, 2013.
Tomlinson's speed was on full display, as he reached 19.4 mph. He went from home to first base in 4.9 seconds, and his entire trip around the bases totaled 15.2 seconds.
"Going to first base, I feel the slowest," Tomlinson said. "Going around second base, I think I kick it in the most."
Harper puts the Nats ahead
Hours before teammate Max Scherzer threw his second no-hitter of the season, Bryce Harper provided another entry for his personal highlight reel as the Nationals beat the Mets, 3-1, in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.
With two outs in the eighth inning of a tied game, Harper sent a 1-1 pitch sailing 422 feet into the second deck at Citi Field. The ball left his bat at 106.6 mph and at a 27-degree angle, hanging in the air for 5.6 seconds.
It was the 42nd home run on the year for the National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate. The homer also pushed Harper's RBI total to 99, an ongoing career high.
Granderson makes good contact vs. dealing Scherzer
Scherzer was unhittable on Saturday, tossing a near-perfect no-no in which the only baserunner came on a throwing error by third baseman Yunel Escobar. But Curtis Granderson came closest to breaking up Scherzer's historic effort.
The veteran outfielder led off the fourth inning and lined out sharply on a 2-2, 95-mph fastball from Scherzer, achieving an exit velocity of 103.0 mph. Unfortunately for Granderson and the Mets, the ball was hit just 6.3 feet from second baseman Dan Uggla, who secured the routine catch.
There wasn't much good contact against Scherzer on Saturday, as he fanned 17 batters, including nine straight, so Granderson's lineout was a rare sight.