Ian Kinsler's baserunning misadventures have been well documented dating back to the 2010 ALCS as a member of the Texas Rangers. Now he's a member of the Detroit Tigers after being traded during the offseason for Prince Fielder, but apparently not much has changed. In fact, Kinsler was poised to add to his resume just two weeks ago when a baserunning blunder against the Los Angeles Angels actually led to him scoring a run.
Granted, it took three Angels errors for it to work out, but the run still counted.
He was not so fortunate on Saturday though. In the third inning of Detroit's game against the Royals, Kinsler was casually leading off first base while also casually conversing with first baseman Eric Hosmer. Apparently, Kinsler was oblivious to the fact that the baseball was live and in play, and that Kansas City pitcher Danny Duffy was looking right at him. As soon as Kinsler turned his head towards Hosmer, Duffy fired a throw over for perhaps the easiest pickoff he'll ever get.
There was no deception from Duffy on the play, so there's definitely no balk. He was just in his usual setup and happened to be more aware than Kinsler. Give Hosmer credit, too, because he never lost his focus.
How Kinsler could allow that to happen though is mind-boggling. Obviously he put a lot of trust in Hosmer, thinking their conversation was friendly and harmless. But there's a reason coaches emphasize keeping your eye on the ball. Bad things happen. Embarrassing things even, but for Kinsler it might just be another mark in the pickoff column.
As Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News noted in 2012, Kinsler and then Rangers teammate Elvis Andrus combined to be the most picked off duo in MLB history — Kinsler was caught six times, while Andrus was caught five that seasons. You'd think at that point an emphasis might have been placed on improving his awareness, but apparently Kinsler is still comfortable with his approach.
That might change now. In fact, it almost has to change. There's no excuse for getting picked off in that manner one time. If it happens again, baserunning blunders may be unceremoniously renamed "Kinslers."
If that hasn't already happened.
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