Yankees’ third base coach takes the blame for sending Urshela home in key play: ‘There is no excuse’

New York Yankees, Phil Nevins
Feb 23, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin (53) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With the New York Yankees down one run in last night’s game against the Boston Red Sox, third baseman Gio Urshela had hit a long double, which was followed by a Miguel Andujar’s hard groundball single that quickly made its way to right field.

Had Urshela stayed at third, the Yankees would have runners in the corners with nobody out. A rally was not out of the question. However, Gio didn’t stay. Yankees’ third base coach Phil Nevin sent him home even though he hadn’t even touched third base when Hunter Renfroe, the Red Sox’s right fielder, was already taking the ball and preparing a throw.

Renfroe, if you didn’t know, leads MLB in outfield assists with 10. Well, he now has 11, because he threw Urshela out at home plate by a mile with a cannon of a throw.

“We talked about it before the game,” Nevin told NJ Advance Media. “He’s got one of the best arms in baseball.”

Urshela is slow, and he had been dealing with a shin injury. His chances weren’t great against one of the best arms in baseball, but Nevin sent him home anyway. That was a mistake, and he owns up to it.

“I saw a groundball to right field and saw Gio had a good jump,” Nevin said. “Renfroe was kind of moving to his right and the way he was attacking the ball — I’ve seen the way he attacks balls — I honestly didn’t even think he was going to make a throw on that play, but there’s no excuse with nobody out. You can’t get a guy thrown out there.”

The Yankees could have had a productive inning

The throw was a straight, no-bounce bullet that catcher Christian Vazquez caught, with time to spare to tag Urshela.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked about why teams keep challenging Renfroe’s arm. “You’ve got to ask them,” he said. “(Renfroe) does a good job charging the ball and in that situation he had a presence of mind. He didn’t need to keep that throw down. He knew that he had a chance to get (Urshela) at the plate.”

“Even if you think you see something, you have to err on the side of caution with nobody out and I certainly didn’t there,” Nevin said. “Gio getting thrown out at home, obviously I know he’s been out for a couple of days with a leg (injury), so a lot of things compound in that one.”

“We’ve probably got to hold (Urshela) up there, but Phil is as good as it gets over there at third base,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Probably in that spot it was a little bit too aggressive on the send, but there’s no one I want over there coaching third than Phil.”

Would the Yankees have eventually tied the game had Nevin held Urshela at third? What do you think?

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