After Aroldis Chapman's appearance in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night, we pointed out that not only did he collect his usual strikeouts, but that each of the five batted balls he allowed was so high or low that they were almost guaranteed not to lead to success for the hitter.
We saw that again in Chicago's 9-3 win in Game 6 on Tuesday night, when Chapman got Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor to ground out to first baseman Anthony Rizzo at an exit velocity (93.5 mph) and launch angle (-31 degrees) combination that hadn't gone for a hit once all season. But because Lindor hustled down the line in 4.06 seconds, his second-fastest home-to-first time of 2016, he made it extremely close -- so close, in fact, that Joe Maddon had to use a replay challenge to overturn an initial call of "safe."
How did it end up so close? Lindor's speed obviously played a huge role, but it was also because the ball was hit to Rizzo's right, so he had to range 15.2 feet away from his starting position to field the grounder. If we look at the field as being from 45 degrees (third-base line) to -45 degrees (first-base line), Lindor's hit came at -30.5 degrees, so it was enough away from the line that it took Rizzo time to get there and made his throw back to the base longer.
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We can actually break down exactly how far away from first base Lindor was at each of the three important events that took place:
Lindor distance from first base
Ball fielded by Rizzo -- 61.4 feet
Rizzo flips to Chapman -- 38.8 feet
Chapman catches throw -- 13.3 feet
Of course, when Chapman received Rizzo's toss, he wasn't yet on the base; he was still just less than eight feet away, and he was slowing to catch the ball. That's closer than the 13.3 feet away that Lindor was, but the difference here is in speed. Lindor's top tracked speed of 20.2 mph was faster than Chapman's top speed of 16.8 mph, and Chapman was down to 14.2 mph at the time he caught the ball anyway, while Lindor was motoring at 20.2 mph, basically reaching his peak as Chapman was decelerating.
Unfortunately for Lindor, while he did his best with his outstanding hustle, Chapman got his foot down a split-second earlier. The call was correctly reversed. Not for lack of effort, however. Lindor has been a star of this Fall Classic, and he very nearly added another great play to his highlight reel.
Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.