Mike Jirschele held Alex Gordon at third base during the final moments of Game 7. Otherwise, the Kansas City Royals’ World Series would’ve ended at home plate, not on Salvador Perez’s foul pop in the next at-bat.
Fangraphs examined the much-discussed play, in which Gordon singled and advanced all the way to third base on an error. When San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford caught the relay from the outfield and had his body set toward home plate, Gordon had just reached third base.
The analytics website timed Gordon’s speed from third to home on contested plays throughout the season and clocked him near 3.4 seconds. It then timed Crawford’s relay throws to home at a range of 2.2 to 2.5 seconds — much faster than Gordon’s legs.
Had Jirschele, the Royals’ third base coach, sent Gordon home, the ball would’ve beat him by a second. This means even if Crawford’s throw was inaccurate, Giants catcher Buster Posey would’ve had enough time to get back to home plate and tag Gordon for the final out.
MLB.com also broke down the play and agreed with Fangraphs’ analysis. Still, Royals fans will spend the rest of the offseason wondering what could’ve happened had Gordon gone home.
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