Angels have been getting tricky with pop-ups this year

first_imgANAHEIM — The Angels have a strategic move that they’ve added to their arsenal this year, one that no other team in the majors uses with any regularity.Although it’s fairly obvious, it’s one that the Angels nonetheless don’t want to discuss too much.“I don’t know how much I’m supposed to say about this,” David Fletcher said. “This isn’t something I can get in trouble for, is it?”The secret? The Angels don’t catch pop-ups. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Back in spring training, the Angels did drills to work on the play, including convincing the runner at first that the ball is going to be caught, so he doesn’t get a good jump to second.The Angels have a sign they give the infielders every time the situation presents itself: less than two outs, a runner only at first and a slower runner at the plate.It’s an easy play and one that definitely creates an advantage for the defense, but it doesn’t really happen often enough to create a significant edge. The Angels have saved one run this season. On Aug. 24 in Houston, they replaced José Altuve with Michael Brantley. An out later, Yordan Álvarez hit a double that would have scored Altuve but Brantley was held at third. The Angels still lost the game.Simmons said it’s something he’s done from time to time on his own throughout his big league career, but this season it’s been a formal directive.“This year is more of a collective thing,” he said. “We have a purpose.” Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone More accurately, they let pop-ups drop when doing so can result in a force at second, replacing a fast runner with a slower one.An umpire has the discretion to rule a catch if a fielder intentionally drops a ball, but there’s nothing they can do when the fielders allow a ball to drop untouched.This season there have been 23 pop-ups that resulted in a forceout, and the Angels are responsible for seven of them. A quick look at the video of each play clearly shows which ones were intentional. The Angels did it six times, and the other 29 teams combined for three.(On April 19, the Seattle Mariners did something slightly different to the Angels. Justin Bour didn’t run on a pop-up, so the Mariners let it drop to get a double play.)Fletcher and Andrelton Simmons said it’s something that Manager Brad Ausmus brought with him from Detroit. Ausmus didn’t want to talk about it, but it’s worth noting that the Tigers led the majors in pop-up forceouts from 2014-17, when Ausmus was their manager.center_img Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *