Standing on third base can be a lot like that, especially when a ground ball goes right by your feet. Mark Reynolds learned this the hard way in Sunday's 9-2 loss to the Phillies.
Reynolds stood on third with Jason Heyward on first base and Jon Jay at the plate with no outs in the second inning. At the time, the score was 0-0. Jay grounded a ball to Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco. Reynolds halted on the crack of the bat and watched Franco throw to second base before he went home. He said he thinks he made the wrong the decision.
"I froze," he said. "I saw him throw it. I took off. He threw it home. It was just bad baserunning."
Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez was the man who received Franco's throw and made the snap decision to go for the double play at home rather than get the easier out at first base. Hernandez's throw to catcher Cameron Rupp was accurate and caught Reynolds in a pickle. Rupp tossed once to Franco, who was able to tag Reynolds and turn runners at first and third with no one out into a runner on first with two outs.
Reynolds and manager Mike Matheny said they thought the first baseman made the wrong decision, but they weren't in agreement as to what the right decision would've been. In Reynolds' mind, he should've been running on contact, forcing a throw home from Franco and giving his team the opportunity to have runners on first and second with one out.
"You get caught in the rundown, they do come to the plate, you stay in until you've got guys at second and third and then we're second and third and one out," Matheny said. "It was just one of those things that he delayed for a minute, and by the time he got to second base they still had time to make a play."
Either way, the Cardinals would've had two men on base with one out instead of one runner on base with two outs. And to Reynolds, this change indirectly led to the Cardinals' loss. Squandering that opportunity in a tie game, in Reynolds' eyes, "took the wind out of [the Cardinals'] sails."
This time, Matheny agreed.
"When you have an opportunity even to score that first run after scoring a lot the last couple of days, you can have that momentum going your way," Matheny said. "When you get out of that it reverses it."
Nick Suss is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.