Monday, August 24, 2009
Although this game-ending play by Phillies second-string baseman Eric Bruntlett is generally being hailed as the 15th unassisted triple play in Major League history, and just the second to end a game, there is cause for disagreement. I think. Because I'm pretty sure that it was assisted. By Mets skipper Jerry Manuel. With no outs and runners on first and second, Brad Lidge imploding (again) on the mound and Jeff Francoeur facing a 2-2 count at the plate, Manuel sent both runners. The attempted double-steal dragged Bruntlett towards the bag at second, placing him in great position to snag the ball that Francoeur laced right up the middle of the field. With Bruntlett's momentum taking him through the catch (one out) and right to second to tag the base (two outs) then he just had to turn to his left to tag Daniel Murphy who was barreling towards him (three outs).
Had Manuel not sent the runners then Bruntlett is not in position to make the play because, as Murphy said, "Frenchy hit it on the screws." Castillo would have scored from second and the Mets would have had two men on base with no outs and been trailing by just a run. Instead, Manuel assisted on a triple play. I guess that goes in the books as a M-4 triple play or a 10-4 depending on how you denote the manager.