PHOENIX (AP) — For Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, it pays to let pitcher Nathan Eovaldi cover the bag on ground balls to the right side of the infield.
“One hundred dollars,” Lowe said of his reward, laughing before Tuesday's Game 4 of the World Series. “A nice, crisp blue strip.”
The Rangers struggled with their defense some last season, particularly on ground balls to the right side, when pitchers have to sprint from the mound and cover first base. So pitching coach Mike Maddux made the play a point of emphasis during spring training, making sure everyone understood how important those outs were throughout the season.
Eovaldi said if he was going to run all the way over to first, Lowe better flip him the ball.
“We come over there to cover the bag and he wants to take it himself,” Eovaldi said. “I'm like ‘I’m already over there, flip me the ball.' I had to make sure he would do it.”
Hence the $100 payment. Eovaldi is the expected Game 5 starter for the Rangers on Wednesday, which means it could be another payday for Lowe.
“Those games where Evo gets three or four groundouts, it's pretty good for me,” Lowe said.
The Rangers and Diamondbacks have combined for some crisp defense during this Fall Classic, with zero errors through the first three games. It's the first time that's happened in World Series history.
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