In Game 1 of the NLDS, the Atlanta Braves had first and third with no one out in the first inning and failed to score a run, which proved to be the difference in a 2-1 loss to the Brewers in Milwaukee. After a 3-0 win in Game 2 evened the series going back to Atlanta, it was clear that runs were going to be at a premium in this series and leaving opportunities on the table would be incredibly costly.
Naturally, when the Braves found themselves in a similar position on Monday afternoon, with runners on first and third with just one out in the second inning, the Atlanta faithful were hoping to avoid a redux of that Game 1 failure. When Travis d’Arnaud hit a fly ball to deep left field, it seemed all but assured that the Braves would at least have something to show for their hard work that inning, as Christian Yelich wasn’t even considering a throw to the plate with Austin Riley running.
However, for reasons passing understanding, Adam Duvall tagged up and took off from first as well, providing an easy target for Yelich to get the ball into second for an out that wasn’t even close to erase the run crossing home plate because Duvall got tagged out before Riley hit the plate.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 11, 2021
It is, truly, one of the worst baserunning errors you will see in a spot like this. There are so many ways for this to have simply been “bad” and not “catastrophic.” For one, Duvall could’ve simply stood on the first base bag and assured the run crossed, as Yelich, for all his talents, doesn’t have the type of arm to make it a close play at the plate from that deep in the outfield. He could’ve turned around and gotten himself in a rundown to give Riley time to cross the plate. He could’ve just stopped and made the shortstop run to him and bought enough time for the run to score. Literally anything other than running as hard as possible right into an out would’ve scored a run, and yet, that’s what happened and the Braves strolled back to the dugout with nothing to show for an otherwise great offensive inning.