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Robert running rampant

Another big day (3-for-4) — including a jaw-dropping run scored from second base on a sacrifice fly — keys Desert Dogs win

Arizona Fall League All Star Game
En Fuego: In the second inning, Robert led off with a scintillating sequence that screams future All-Star.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Glendale Desert Dogs 6, Scottsdale Scorpions 5

Luis Robert (RF, cleanup): 3-for-4, 2B (2), R, RBI, K, SB (3)

Danny Dopico (relieved in 8th): 23 IP, H, 2 ER, 3 BB, HBP, K, 23 pitches/seven strikes (4.76)

Robert was again the key cog in the Desert Dogs attack, with three hits.

In the bottom of the first, Robert was batting when the inning ended, as Ryan McKenna was caught stealing second base.

But that was OK, as it set up this jaw-dropping sequence to start the second.

First, Arquimedes Gamboa makes the mistake of thinking he has plenty of time to nab Robert at first base on a routine ground ball. Arquimedes Gamboa was wrong.

Then, Robert steals second easily, despite a crisp throw from catcher Matt Winn.

And then, the friggin’ piece de resistance, Robert advances home from second base on Yu Chang’s sacrifice fly to center field.


So, check out Kyle Glaser’s delicious video below. Robert aggressively takes third on Chang’s fly out, but, OK, there’s nothing too special about that; the fly is deep, and center fielder Drew Ferguson looks to be at the 400 or so foot mark in the outfield, not set, as he catches the ball.

Ferguson makes a strong throw to shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez, who catches the throw on the fly, about 20 feet in back of the infield dirt at shortstop.

Now comes the future All-Star move from Robert, who has just gently rounded third base, pausing to pick up the play. He sees Rodriguez catch the ball and begin to jog it to the infield, a customary play, resulting in the pitcher getting the ball back directly to face the next batter. But as Rodriguez takes himself out of a good throwing position by jogging the ball in, Robert bolts for home.

Did Robert see that Rodriguez was lollygagging, or did Rodriguez take his eye off of Robert as he jogged in? Had Robert studied Rodriguez’s throwing arm, knowing he couldn’t snap off a strong throw from 125 feet away? Did Robert simply have supreme confidence in his speed and the element of surprise?

It’s hard to say, but he scored with ease.

Perhaps I am making too much of this, but for as exciting as Robert’s deep, deep home run to left was on Wednesday, Robert’s sequence here in the second inning is infinitely more thrilling. It speaks to Robert’s baseball IQ, aggressiveness and unparalleled raw skills. I can’t stop watching it.

With two outs in the third inning, Robert doubled in a run, then scored on Chang’s single after that, pushing the Glendale lead to 5-0. Robert struck out swinging in the sixth, and finished his day with a single to left in the eighth. (In that inning, the first two outs were made by runners getting thrown out at home, including Robert for the second out.)

Now, flip side, Dopico continues to struggle in the AFL. He threw only seven of 23 pitches for strikes, walking three batters (walking in a run), hitting one, and getting bounced from the eighth inning after retiring just two batters. His second out, in fact, was on a caught stealing of second base. And yet, by the oddball rules of scoring, Dopico still earned a “hold” for keeping the lead before getting knocked out of the box.

Glendale improves to 10-15 with the win. It has already been eliminated from the playoffs (championship game), but is only a half-game from extracting itself from the basement of the AFL. Progress!