A base hit — or an error on the shortstop?
Didi Gregorius didn’t exactly agree with the error of his ways in the critical third inning of Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays. He had some support for his interpretation of what happened, but it didn’t come from Joe Girardi.
With one out and none on, Devon Travis grounded a ball toward the hole that Gregorius tried to backhand. It hit the tip of his glove and skipped into the outfield. It was scored an error and became the focal point when two unearned runs came home on Edwin Encarnacion’s two-out single in an eventual 3-1 loss that marred a strong outing by CC Sabathia.
“It looked like the ball came up a little bit,’’ Girardi said, but he added, “It’s a play that Didi’s capable of making, you know, and it led to two runs. That’s the unfortunate part.’’
It was the second error in two games and eighth of the season for Gregorius. He started the day ranked eighth among American League shortstops with a .960 fielding percentage.
“He needs to improve on it,’’ Girardi said. “I mean, that’s what has to happen. He’s a better fielder than what he has showed these first two months. And I expect he will be better as the year goes on.’’
Third baseman Chase Headley said it was a difficult play. “You got a good runner,’’ he said of Travis. “He’s trying to get into position to make a throw and it just came up on him. Just tough. The ball came up right at the last second. There’s not a whole lot you can do in that situation so it’s unfortunate, it happens. I don’t see a whole lot that he could have done differently.’’
Gregorius did not think it was an error, saying to reporters, “I don’t know if you saw the video [replay]. He got a little bad hop on me. CC was pitching really good, and for that to happen right there, it got a bad hop, and as a shortstop, you want to make every play. Nothing you can do about that anymore.
“Nobody wants a bad hop, so I mean if it wasn’t a bad hop, I probably would have made that play. Russell Martin hit the same ground ball [in the second inning] and I got the backhand, so it’s a bad hop and there’s nothing I can do with that.’’
Official scorer Billy Altman said, “I saw a replay and I really didn’t see a bad hop.’’
Gregorius said he did not take issue with the official scorer but did not back off his belief that it was not an error. “I’m not the scorer, they are, so they scored it however they want to score it,’’ he said.
“It’s not just offense that wins the game; you gotta play defense, too,’’ he added. “And today I got a bad hop, like I said before, and there’s nothing I can do with that right now. CC pitched a good game, and for me to get that bad hop and mess the game up a little bit, it’s part of the game.’’