Statcast tracks Cain's dash, Bautista's blasts
The eighth inning of the Royals' American League Championship Series-clinching 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night served up its share of dramatic moments -- and plenty of material to be analyzed by Statcast™.
After Toronto slugger Jose Bautista used his power to tie the game with a homer -- his second of the night -- in the top of the inning, Kansas City speedster Lorenzo Cain used his speed to put his team back in front in the bottom half. Along with taking an in-depth look at the speed and power that fueled the late-inning offense for the Royals and Blue Jays, respectively, Statcast™ will also break down two crucial defensive gems from Game 6, one from each team.
Here's a closer look at each of those key plays:
Cain scores from first on single -- again
With Cain standing on first base and the game knotted at 3 in the bottom of the eighth, Eric Hosmer lined a shot down the right-field line that set off a mad dash around the bases for Cain. For starters, Cain initially took a lead of 11.3 feet before extending it to 17 feet on his secondary lead.
Cain then took off on contact, going from first to second base in 3.81 seconds. He trimmed down on that time over the next 90 feet, needing only 3.34 seconds to go from second to third, putting third-base coach Mike Jirschele in position to make the series-clinching call to wave Cain to the plate.
The speedy Kansas City outfielder made the decision pay off by cutting even more time off that final leg, going from third to home in only 3.31 seconds. All told, Cain reached a max speed of 20.7 mph during his 10.5-second dash from first to home.
Keep in mind, this isn't the first time we've seen Cain scamper home from first base on a Hosmer single this postseason. Rewind to Game 5 of the AL Division Series when Cain reached a max speed of 20.8 mph as he raced from first to home in just 9.25 seconds -- aided partially by the fact that he was running on the pitch.
Bautista tees off twice
Bautista crushed a pair of homers in Game 6, with the first coming on an absolute moonshot in the fourth inning that pulled Toronto to within a run. Bautista jumped all over a 96-mph offering from Yordano Ventura, turning it around at a scorching 111.7 mph and sending the ball a projected 430 feet away and into the left-field seats. The exit velocity marked Bautista's second-hardest-hit homer of the year, behind only a 112.5-mph blast he hit against the Angels on May 18.
Bautista's second homer may not have been one of his farthest or hardest of the year, but it was certainly one of his biggest. With a runner on base and Toronto trailing by two in the top of the eighth, Bautista sent a Ryan Madson pitch a projected 387 feet away and into the left-field corner seats for a game-tying home run. That one, which also came on a 96-mph pitch, left Bautista's bat at 107.9 mph.
Moustakas' split-second reaction ends rally
The Royals managed to escape a crucial fifth-inning jam in Game 6, thanks largely to Mike Moustakas' quick reflexes at the hot corner. With two on, two outs and the Blue Jays trailing by a run, Josh Donaldson ripped a 113.8 mph liner to the left side, marking his hardest-hit ball all season.
Moustakas, however, took his first step just 0.36 seconds after first contact, giving him just enough time to lay out to make the grab. As for Donaldson, the fastest a ball had come off his bat all season prior to Friday night was a 113.6-mph shot that went for a double, all the way back on May 29. For reference, Donaldson's highest exit velocity on any of his home runs this year was 112.5 mph.
Revere makes leaping, crashing catch
The Royals were beating the Blue Jays, 2-1, in the bottom of the seventh inning and looked poised to break things open when Salvador Perez hit a soaring fly ball to deep left field with a man on first and no one out.
Fortunately for Toronto left fielder Ben Revere, the ball had plenty of hang time, staying in the air for 5.3 seconds and giving him ample opportunity to get back on the ball. He traveled nearly 77 feet with a route efficiency of 93.1 percent before making a leaping grab up against the wall.
Revere then alertly fired the ball back toward the infield, hoping to double off Moustakas, who was past second base when the ball was caught. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki got the relay throw and fired a strike to first base, but Chris Colabello couldn't scoop it, and Moustakas -- who reached a max speed of 18.7 mph on the play -- was safe. That would loom large, as Moustakas would come around to score on an Alex Rios single later in the inning to push Kansas City's lead to 3-1 at the time.