The Los Angeles Dodgers regularly put together a strong defensive outfield that often includes James Outman and Chris Taylor, but both players were involved in a misplay that played a key part in losing 11-8 to the San Diego Padres in the first game back from a .500 road trip.
The teams entered the ninth inning tied 7-7, when an error came back to cost the Dodgers. Trent Grisham led off the inning with a routine fly ball to left-center field that dropped for a two-base error because of miscommunication between Outman and Taylor.
The error was charged to Taylor, but Outman took full credit for the mistake, saying it should have been charged to him. Although both players were calling for the ball, they didn’t hear each other in the loud environment.
“The rule of thumb is if you can get to it as a center fielder, it’s your ball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They’re both very good defenders out there. Looking back at it, they were both calling it as loud as they could. But to be quite honest, if one of them heard it, that’s C.T.’s responsibility to relent. But clearly he didn’t hear it.
“So it’s something they’re going to learn from. It’s unfortunate that it led to a baserunner.”
When it’s too loud to hear your teammates, Outman said they should have used different methods to communicate with each other.
“Kind of like the non-verbal communication, just peeking,” Outman noted. “I kind of had my eyes locked on the ball and didn’t peek or anything, so it’s 100% on me.”
As the center fielder, Outman is the captain of the outfield and has priority on any fly ball, but believes this instance called for deferring to Taylor.
“There is a fine line, for sure,” Outman said. “It’s just kind of feeling it out and knowing the range of who you’ve got to your left and right. I was a little overanxious, overambitious.”
After Grisham reached base, Fernando Tatís Jr. reached on an Evan Phillips error and Juan Soto broke the tie with a three-run homer. Xander Bogaerts capped off the big inning for San Diego with a solo home run, which was ultimately too much for the Dodgers to overcome despite a small rally of their own in the bottom of the ninth.
James Outman received encouragement from teammates
After the error, Mookie Betts and some of their other teammates gave the rookie outfielder some encouragement and a pat on the back.
“It’s great,” Outman said. “I’ve got really good teammates. We’ll get back at it.”
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