CLEVELAND -- Tyler Naquin made history just by trotting out to his position in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, becoming the first rookie outfielder to start a postseason game while wearing an Indians uniform in nearly seven decades.The promising 25-year-old then made Brock Holt and the Red
CLEVELAND -- Tyler Naquin made history just by trotting out to his position in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, becoming the first rookie outfielder to start a postseason game while wearing an Indians uniform in nearly seven decades.
The promising 25-year-old then made Brock Holt and the Red Sox take notice of his strong throwing arm, cutting down a key early run in the Indians' 5-4 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday at Progressive Field. Cleveland leads the best-of-five ALDS, 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for today at 4:30 p.m. ET (watch on TBS).
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Boston jumped out to a quick lead on Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer, as Hanley Ramirez drilled a two-out double to left-center field, scoring Dustin Pedroia. Holt also tried to score on the play, but Naquin fielded the ball and fired a seed to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who relayed home just in time to cut down Holt following a video review.
"It was huge how Naquin got the ball to me as quick as he did," Lindor said. "All I was trying to do was one-hop the catcher, just get rid of it quick, try to get him out."
Holt was initially ruled safe by home-plate umpire Brian Knight, but catcher Roberto Pérez quickly signaled to the Indians' dugout after slapping the tag down. After a review of 45 seconds, the call was overturned, ending the inning.
"I think Naquin got to the ball real quick and relayed it to Frankie, and Frankie made a good throw," Perez said. "It was the only throw that could have gotten him. I was able to tag him, and that was huge."
Holt said that he had a good jump and believed Perez gave him room to slide.
"I had a pretty good lane to slide around there; just a bang-bang play," Holt said. "I got in and touched the plate but he tagged my leg or my foot. It was a good play by him."
Statcast™ registered that Naquin's throw to Lindor traveled a distance of 145.1 feet, with a velocity of 91.6 mph. Lindor's throw to home plate traveled 129.6 feet and was delivered with arm speed of 88.2 mph.
The first Indians rookie to start a postseason game in the outfield since Larry Doby in 1948, Naquin boasted a regular-season average arm strength on competitive throws of 94.7 mph, the 10th highest average of any outfielder with a minimum of 100 tracked throws.
In 2016, Naquin also had two throws over 100 mph, making him one of eight players to do so. Only Aaron Hicks (three) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (four) had more. Bauer said that Naquin's timing couldn't have been better.
"The first inning is always rough. It takes me a while to kind of get in a groove," Bauer said. "Coming out, facing those guys, they stack the lineup really deep. No easy out there. Heck of a play by Naquin and Lindor to get the third out and save a run, which is obviously big, not only starting off a game, but obviously at the end we win by one. Props to them on that one."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com.