Looking at two defensive plays on opposite ends of the spectrum

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Nick Swisher
Looking Way Ahead: The 2013 Free Agent Class

You might remember that a few weeks ago the Yankees blew a 4-0 lead against the Twins thanks in part to a bloop three-run double that eluded a sliding Nick Swisher, and you surely remember that Brent Lillibridge robbed the Yankees of two game winning hits just two nights ago. Mark Simon at ESPN took a look at those two balls in play using hang time, and found that within the last year, hits like the bloop double have fallen in for a hit approximately 56% of the time. The ball hung up in the air for 4.4 seconds, but it was just perfectly located. Swish wasn’t the only one unable to get there.

The ball Robinson Cano hit for the final out on Tuesday? That sucker had a hang time of just 2.5 seconds, and there have been 61 balls hit to that spot with that little hang time in the last year. Lillibridge was only the third outfielder to turn that ball into the out. That’s a .951 BABIP, but somehow the Yankees unlucked into small piece of the pie. Go figure.

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Nick Swisher
Looking Way Ahead: The 2013 Free Agent Class
  • AndrewYF

    That game is my vote for heartbreaker of the year.

    My dad told me that losses like that, where the Yankees would have won but for some pretty terrible luck, don’t bother him.

    I told him it still bothered me because the Yankees should have won anyway since they were leading heading into the 8th. Soriano is my least-liked Yankee since Jose Veras. But at least Veras wasn’t superglued to the 8th inning.

    • Yank the Frank

      You just have to tip your cap and move on.

      • Gonzo

        And call Lillibridge our daddy?

  • a plethora of pinatas

    Lillibridge = lucky fu**

  • David, Jr.

    Those two could be the two worst losses in 162 games. Total flukes. However, it all evens out in 162 games. It could even be that one of Jeter’s slow, bleeder little grounders will win a fluke game.

  • Guest

    As unpleasant as it was, losses like Tuesday’s are one of the reasons why I love baseball. Simply put, no other sport has as many different ways to deal out crushing defeats. Baseball can break your heart in so many different ways, its impossible to name them all. New ones–like two scorching potential game winning hits end up being snared by a relatively unheard rightfielder in back to back at bats–seem to pop-up everyday. But, of course, it can also provide inspiring, thrilling victories in the same completely unpredictable fashion.

    Like Ozzie said after the game, baseball is crazy. And its craziness makes it awesome.

  • True Yankee* Luis Sojo

    I might take some heat for this, but as painful of a loss as that game was, it’s hard not to feel good for Lillibridge. Those two catches will probably end up being the defining moment of his career.

  • Mike B.

    which raises the question, was diving for it the correct decision?

  • Monteroisdinero

    How about the hang time on Robbie’s homer last night? Not much either.


  • S

    I can now say that Lillbridge is officially now my most despised non-redsox/philly player.

    LILLLLLBRIDDDDDDDGGGGGEEEEE!!!! (shaking fist to the sky in anger)