Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Luis Robert Jr. Criticized for Game-Ending Play


Luis Robert Jr. homered and drove in four runs Tuesday night, but the center fielder didn’t escape criticism during the White Sox’s 7-6 to the Guardians in Cleveland. Robert was slammed by some fans for his effort or lack thereof on the game-ending play, when Bo Naylor hit a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to bring in the game-winning run from third base.

Fans took issue with Robert’s disinterest in attempting a throw with the game on the line.

Andrés Giménez, who singled after a nine-pitch at-bat to leadoff the ninth inning, was at third base and trotted home for the walk-off win. The Guardians infielder is one of the fastest players in the league and you could say that he scores almost 100% of the time even if Robert unleashes a rocket from the outfield.

I think that’s just a play that looks worse than it actually was. However, I do think Robert should still get blamed for one thing and it’s that he did a terrible job of getting behind that fly ball off the bat of Naylor, which pretty much gave him no chance at all to even position himself for a throw. He’s flat-footed when the catch is made and well at that point a throw to the plate was futile.

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Sure, it looks bad when the camera pans out and you see Robert standing in center field with the ball still in his hand, but the White Sox weren’t getting that out. Yet, I do understand why fans would be upset about the effort. We know the Sox are terrible this year, but that shouldn’t mean that you just stop trying, right? I mean, there’s a small chance that Giménez trips running to home, pulls a muscle and a throw from Robert does get him out.

But again, the White Sox aren’t even in that position in the bottom of the ninth inning without Robert.

The center fielder homered in the sixth inning, tying the game at three and then in the seventh inning Robert came through with another game-tying hit. Cleveland took a 6-3 lead after their half of the sixth, but following a Lenyn Sosa RBI-double, Robert delivered a game-tying, two-run single with two outs in the seventh.

Then, Robert got into scoring position, stealing second base, but he was left stranded.

So yeah, it’s not like Robert isn’t trying. Just bad optics to end the game.

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