Play #3: Geraldo Perdomo Flashes His Leather at Shortstop, Making a Leaping Stop in a Pivotal Moment
It was Milwaukee's last chance to mount a comeback to keep their 2023 season alive. The crowd was on pins and needles, and the Brewers needed to string together some hits in order to force a Game Three.
Josh Donaldson started off the bottom of the ninth inning by getting hit by a 91-mph four-seam fastball, giving the fans at American Family Field one last glimmer of hope that their season still has life.
Some fans thought this would be a prime opportunity to turn towards the bench and call upon a pinch runner for Donaldson at first base. The Brewers were facing elimination, there were strong runners available on Milwaukee's bench, and the 37-year-old Donaldson doesn't quite move as briskly as he once did.
Nonetheless, Counsell elected to keep Donaldson on the base paths. An Andrew Monasterio strikeout followed Donaldson's at-bat, bringing Tyrone Taylor to the plate with Donaldson at first base and one man out.
Tyrone quickly fell behind in the count against Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald. Taylor got a 92-mph fastball at the letters in an 0-2 count, and he gave it a drive back up the middle, causing an erruption of cheers from the crowd at American Family Field.
Taylor put a good piece of wood on the ball, generating an expected batting average of .770 on the hit. Yet, it failed to sneak past shortstop Geraldo Perdomo by the slimmest of margins.
The ball was hit 87.4 mph in the direction of Perdomo. Due to this, Donaldson had to pause at first base ever-so-slightly. Perdomo made a leaping attempt at the ball, and he was able to get his glove on the hit to knock it down before it reached the outfield.
Perdomo quickly fired the ball to Marte covering second base, and the Brewers were down to their last out of the game. Instead of having runners at first and second base with one out, the Brewers had just one man on and two outs, and their realistic hopes of completing the comeback was essentially gone.
Donaldson was in a difficult position, no doubt. If he took off immediately, there was a chance he could have been doubled up at first base had Perdomo held onto the catch. His slight hesitation provided Perdomo enough time to recover on the play and force the out at second base.
Perhaps if Counsell elected to pinch run for Donaldson, a different outcome would have ensued. Potentially a more agile runner such as Joey Wiemer or Blake Perkins could have reached second base in time to keep Milwaukee's threat alive.
It would have been a difficult play. However, considering the moment and circumstances, it's fair to question if Donaldson should have remained on the base paths in that situation.
The Brewers came up short in their best-of-three series versus the Diamondbacks. There were countless missed scoring opportunities combined with poor pitching at times from the Brewers. And yet, just a handful of plays where the ball bounced in Arizona's favor completely altered the course of this series.