A diving stop wasn't enough for J.P. Crawford. He upstaged himself with one of the most ridiculous throws you will see this season.
With two outs in the top of the ninth on Friday night in Seattle, the Mariners shortstop dove to his right to snag a grounder by Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario. With no time to set his feet, Crawford unleashed a twisting throw from midair to record the out at first base.
“That was about as good a play as you’re ever going to see by a shortstop,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “Not just stopping the ball, but the throw and getting it on the bag there.”
Servais was impressed by more than just the arm strength and athleticism of the 24-year-old, who is one of the Mariners’ key young additions this season as they build for the future.
“Not just the physical ability, but the internal clock, knowing I have to get rid of this ball to have any chance of getting that guy out,” Servais said. “He got rid of it really quickly. Just a phenomenal play. Great body control."
Even the Tigers couldn't believe what happened, challenging the call on the field only to have it confirmed. Crawford's play set the stage for Mallex Smith to hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 Seattle victory.
"That's one of the better plays you'll see," said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. "I haven't seen something like that in a long, long time."
First baseman Austin Nola, who came up as a shortstop in the Minors, was still shaking his head after the game.
“I got to the bag and it almost looked like he threw it over his head like a Hakeem Olajuwon [hook shot],” Nola said. “It was unbelievable. It just came out of nowhere. I was surprised at how much juice it had on the throw. I’ve never seen a throw like that. I’m going to rewatch it and see how it really played out because when I saw the ball, I was just really focused on stretching as hard as I can.”