There was no miscommunication or missed signs Saturday night at third base. Brett Nicholas was sent home by Rangers third base coach Tony Beasley on a single to left, only to be easily thrown out by Astros left fielder Derek Fisher for the second out of the inning.
Adrian Beltre also was thrown out at home trying to tag up on a fly out to shallow right-center in the fifth.
Manager Jeff Banister said Nicholas trying to score from second base on Elvis Andrus’ single was a perfect storm for getting thrown out. For starters, the backup catcher isn’t exactly the fastest runner on the team.
“You had Brett Nicholas running. You have a left fielder who doesn’t have a terrifically good arm and you had a ball that was hit at moderate speed,” Banister said. “There was an intersection that was getting ready to occur and it just didn’t go our way. He got to the ball quick enough, we didn’t’ run quick enough and [the throw] was a strike and it looked ugly.”
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But Banister doesn’t take issue with Beasley staying aggressive with runners. The Rangers would rather force the other team to make a play than wonder whether a runner could have scored. Also, Fisher showed he had a better arm than the Rangers realized.
“This game needs to be played that way. It doesn’t look great when it goes against you, but we’re not getting the door prize for looking great,” Banister said. “They only give away a trophy for winning.”
Banister defended the play.
“The base hit to left is probably the most challenging play for a third base coach. That’s the fastest decision you have to make. Tony is as good a third base coach as there is in the game,” he said. “They make snap decisions. I don’t want to be wondering if a guy would have been safe. We scout these guys. We know how they throw. That was one of his better throws.”
It wasn’t a bad night for Nicholas. His three-run homer in the second inning gave Texas the lead and the play at home didn’t figure in the outcome as the Rangers won 8-3.