Late call: Springer phones Hinch, rehashes baserunning play
HOUSTON (AP) — Before going to sleep, George Springer wanted to put to bed what happened on the bases.
So the Astros star phoned manager AJ Hinch well after a 5-4 loss to Washington on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the World Series to rehash what went wrong.
"He called me. He initiated the conversation," Hinch said Wednesday before Game 2. "We followed up today with a personal meeting and walked through the different scenarios."
The play in question occurred in the eighth inning with Houston trailing 5-3. With Kyle Tucker on second base and one out, Springer had a deep drive to right-center field.
Springer — who earlier had homered in a record fifth straight World Series game — took about a half-dozen hops out of the batter's box while watching the ball sail, possibly for a tying home run. Instead, it hit off the glove of leaping right fielder Adam Eaton, and Springer ended up with an RBI double.
Known for his hustle and aggressive play, Springer didn't begin running hard until getting to first base. There was speculation he could've gotten a triple if he'd broken fast from the box — that became magnified when Jose Altuve followed with a flyball that might have been long enough for a sacrifice fly.
"He just wanted to talk about the play," Hinch said. "It wasn't a malicious play where he was disrespecting the game. He wasn't disrespecting his teammates.
"I think George got caught up in the moment of the play, in the anxiousness to see if the ball was leaving. It wasn't an egregious showmanship kind of pimp job, as they call it. It was a delay in reading the play correctly," he said.
The ball caromed off Eaton's glove, hit the wall and rolled toward center field, where Victor Robles retrieved it and threw it in.
Tucker had gone back to second base to tag up, in case the ball was caught. Once it dropped, he scored easily.
Springer said he was watching Eaton the whole way.
"That's one of those things where I don't want to necessarily run as fast as I can, because for some reason, if (Tucker) tags or whatever the case and I run by him, it's not good. So I was just kind of watching the outfielder," he said after the game.
Springer also said he wouldn't have made it to third base.
"I can't go to third right there because the guy on second had gone back to tag," he said. "If I had gone to third, I'm out."
Hinch called it "an honest mistake." He said he felt no need to tear into Springer on their late-night call and that "was important for me so he could sleep at night."
"All in all, I've been around George, I know how hard he plays. I know he leaves it all out on the field," he said. "I'm not sure if the play ends any differently, but everybody understands the look when it's a late entry into a play like that."