Adrian Beltre, Daisuke Matsuzaka, No-Hitter Etiquette

Beltre’s Dive Shows the Code at Work

The things one doesn’t do during a teammate’s no-hitter—like, say, talk about it—have been well discussed.

Saturday, Adrian Beltre exemplified what one one does do, as Daisuke Matsuzaka angled to hold the Phillies without a hit.

After Raul Ibanez led off the eighth inning with a walk, Carlos Ruiz smashed a line drive toward the hole on the left side. Beltre improbably snared it with a dive, then threw to first to double up Ibanez. (Watch it here.)

Although the play preserved the no-hitter for only one more batter—Juan Castro followed with a soft hit that fell just beyond the reach of shortstop Marco Scutaro—its intention was paramount.

“You get a little more aggressive because you’d rather have an E-5 than a hit in that situation,” Beltre told “You don’t get many chances to play behind a no-hitter, and you want to do whatever you can to prevent any little single.”

It’s small, but it’s noteworthy. Ballplayers altering their actions on the field solely out of respect for a teammate’s accomplishment—it’s the heart of the unwritten rules.

– Jason

6 thoughts on “Beltre’s Dive Shows the Code at Work

  1. Curious to hear him talk about this level of effort as if he doesn’t always do it. I understand a heightened awareness and the notion of extraordinary performance, but the idea that he’s eager to take an E5 for the cause seems to indicate that on other occasions he isn’t willing to do so. Surprising to hear this from a gold glover.

    1. My own take on the subtext is that it’s a matter of picking one’s spots, and recognizing risk-reward ratio. Landings after flat-out dives can’t be easy on the body, especially after age 30, and only Beltre knows how much he can take.

      Some situations, however, merit that one chuck all plans out the window and just go get the freaking ball.

      – Jason

  2. I went back and watched the highlight, and it was quite a play.

    Then I noticed something else, the reel automatically began showing highlights from last night’s game in St. Pete, and I was confused to see the third base coach waving around the Sox’s 11th run in the top of the ninth.

    Beltre hit a clear triple and takes his bases and his two RBIs to put the Sox up 8-3, that play was fine I saw no problem with it. Three batters later, however, a runner on first takes an extra base on a single. At this point the Sox have made their point, they’re up 5 runs in the ninth inning. A little shaky, but I get it, it’s the AL.

    Now you have two runners on, first and third, you’re up 6 runs in the ninth inning. It’s time to take your hits and your bases, but not stretch it too much. Darnell McDonald doubles and BOTH runners score. Not only that, but the runner on first (Mike Cameron) didn’t get THAT great a jump and though the third base coach is waving him around, he anticipates a throw and slides pretty rough into home. At this point, it’s time to set it aside I’d think, take third base (two bases on the double) and not stretch it.

    Do you think the Rays were offended by this? They really didn’t have time for retaliation of any kind, and that was the last out of the series. Will there be bad blood when they play again next (especially since the Sox went a long way this homestand toward breaking down the huge grip they had on the AL East)?

    1. I certainly wouldn’t have faulted the Red Sox had they played strict station-to-station baseball in this situation, with runners advancing only one base on singles, two on doubles, etc.

      What they did, however, is still kosher in many people’s books. I look to the rule Ron Washington used when he coached third in Oakland: If a guy can go in standing up, no matter what the situation, he’s sending him. Anything less would be depriving the hitter of an RBI, and the runner of a run scored — statistics that go into consideration come contract time.

      Cameron slid, but he didn’t need to; Boston’s third base coach, Tim Bogar, waved him home when he recognized that there wouldn’t be a play at the plate.

      I’d be surprised if the Rays were offended; Joe Maddon is as level-headed as they come. With the ongoing fireworks between these two clubs since the 2000 season, however, nothing should be ruled out.

      – Jason

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