Rather than holding a 3-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves even heading into a pivotal Game 5 on Sunday night. In what many have already deemed an all-time game, the Dodgers were one strike from being one win from a title.
Instead, chaos ensued when Brett Phillips blooped a base hit into shallow right-center field. Kevin Kiermaier easily scored the tying run from second base, and Chris Taylor bobbling the ball created an opportunity for Randy Arozarena to race home from first.
In his hast to give the Rays a walk-off win, Arozarena tripped and fell as he rounded third base. That was unbeknownst to Will Smith, who went to apply a tag on a baserunner that wasn’t there.
“I saw Arozarena — the game-winning run — was coming around and in my mind I thought it was going to be close,” Smith explained. I didn’t realize he tripped and fell. I was just trying to make a quick tag. Get it on him as quick as I could.
“I was a little quick, missed the ball and it unfortunately got away.”
Smith said had he seen Arozarena fall, his focus would have shifted to securing the ball rather than attempting to make a quick play. “I had no idea until I literally went to tag without the ball in my glove,” he said.
“It’s a heartbreaking ending. We were a strike away from going up 3-1 and now it’s 2-2, but end of the day we’ve got to come out, win a ballgame and get back on top in this series.”
Smith also refuted the notion that keeping his mask on had any impact. “Play at the plate, I always leave it on,” he said. “You’re taught that as a catcher, I guess. You can see everything with the mask on.
“It doesn’t hinder your vision at all. I think I make that play 99 out of 100 times with the mask on, and 99 out of 100 times without a mask on.”
Smith not bothered by DH role
In a decision that was effectively made prior to Smith dropping the ball at home plate, he is the designated hitter for Game 5 so Austin Barnes can catch Clayton Kershaw.
“I like being in the lineup,” Smith said. “I feel like I can help the team win whether it’s DH, whether it’s catching. It’s just an opportunity to be in the lineup and help the team win.”
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