ARLINGTON, Texas (WFLA) – The most riveting moment of Game 5, in my humble opinion, slid into focus with the Rays outfielder, Manuel Margot, in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“It was my decision.”
The Tampa Bay Rays trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers by one run.
“It was 100% my decision.”
The Rays had runners on the corners with two outs and Kevin Kiermaier had the bat in his hands. He faced the Dodgers starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw.
“I thought it was a good idea at the time.”
Kiermaier fouled off the first pitch from Kershaw and, then, he looked at a ball.
“I thought I had a pretty good chance of potentially being safe but it was definitely my decision to make that attempt.”
Kershaw, a lefty, followed his usual routine of raising his arms above his head prior to throwing his next pitch. Suddenly, the man on third base, Manuel Margot, started sprinting toward home plate.
“From the first pitch to KK,” explained Margot after the game, “I knew [Kershaw] was not really paying too much attention to me so I thought I had a chance.”
He definitely had a chance.
“I thought I was really close,” Margot said. “I did not really know where they touched me. I could not really tell from the moment but they did not challenge it so I thought I was closer than they thought but they did not challenge it and that was the call.”
The umpire ruled Margot out at home plate ending both the inning and the threat for the Rays.
“It was a read,” said the Rays manager, Kevin Cash. “I know Kershaw has the really high hand set, whatever he does, and I think Manny just felt like he had a read on it, that he could time him up.”
Margot nearly did it but, considering the outcome, should he have even attempted the risky run at home plate?
According to the ESPN Stats & Info account on Twitter, a runner had not tried to steal home in a World Series game since 2002.
“I think we try to do things and make decisions and allow our players to be athletic and be the athletes they are,” said Cash, “and, if Manny felt like he had a read on it for whatever reason, it is tough for me to say, ‘Yes,’ or ‘No,’ just because he is a talented base runner. He might be seeing something that certainly I am not or can’t appreciate in the moment right there and he is trying to do something to pick his team up.”
The Rays will face an elimination game on Tuesday so, yes, this team could use a spark to stay alive in this World Series.
“If Manny felt like he had an opportunity to score and he was going to get in there,” Cash concluded, “then, we should support it.”