There is no good way to make the final out. Making the final out — that is to say, the one that ends the game — means your team lost, which is never fun. There are, however, particularly poor ways to make the final out. Like, say, for example, getting picked off second base in a one-run contest because you weren’t keeping an eye on the pitcher. That’s how Thursday’s extra-innings tilt between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins came to a conclusion.
The wildest part? The baserunner in question was a pitcher … who had already made the final out in a different game this week.
Here’s how it went down. Right-handed starter Jack Flaherty had checked into the game to pinch-run for Yadier Molina following a two-out double that cut Miami’s lead to one. Before Sergio Romo, the Marlins pitcher, had so much as thrown a pitch, Miami put on a pickoff play that caught Flaherty flat-footed. Romo’s throw wasn’t on the money, but Yadiel Rivera was able to corral the ball and make the tag to end the game. Take a look:
Afterward, Flaherty remained positioned at second base for some time:
For as disappointed as Flaherty appeared, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt accepted the blame as his own, saying Flaherty wasn’t as prepared as he needed to be for the assignment:
It’s worth noting Shildt has trusted Flaherty as a pinch-runner on three other occasions this season, the most of any Cardinals player. In fact, no other Cardinals player has been used as a pinch-runner more than once. We can debate the merits of using a pitcher — particularly a good one — in this capacity, but we can all agree that this week has been an argument against.
On Saturday, Flaherty pinch-ran for Molina in a one-run game against the New York Mets. He was thrown out at the plate to end that contest.