The past two season’s Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier has been the recipient of the Gold Glove award based on his outfield defense, which has been stellar. This past week though, stellar was not a component in his vocabulary.
Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is considered one of the best in the majors, as evident having won consecutive Rawlings Gold Gloves for his outfield defense the past two seasons. However, this past week against the Kansas City Royals, Kiermaier may have very well seen the chances of another Gold Glove vanish into thin air by virtue of some uncharacteristic plays that resulted being credited with three errors in the four-game series.
Errors are a part of the game, but for Kevin Kiermaier getting an error is like the Tampa Bay Rays winning a World Series – it just does not happen, especially the way the errors are happening. There are throwing errors, which are the most common and Kiermaier does have one of those, which happened back on April 26 against the Baltimore Orioles. However, fielding errors are not a part of his vocabulary until this past week.
On three separate occasions, Kiermaier picked up fielding errors – not for dropping the ball in route to making a throw, or the ball popping out of his glove, or missing a fly ball. The errors made by Kiermaier were those that you normally see an infielder make – the ball rolling under the glove. Two of the errors were costly as they turned into “Little League” home runs, commonly known as the “inside-the-park” since the majority of this type is aided by an error.
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Lorenzo Cain was the first Royals to benefit as the ball rolled under Kiermaier’s glove, making it almost to the outfield fence in the third inning of Monday’s game. Cain put the pedal to metal and was off to the races, easily getting the “Little League” four-bagger.
It was déjà vu from Monday in Thursday’s contest, as what was a routine single up the middle by Whit Merrifield rolling under Kiermaier’s glove and making its way to the outfield fence and hence another “Little League” homer.
Kiermaier’s first error of the season, which came against the Orioles, was a throwing error, again not something that he is known for doing. Nevertheless, anything can happen on any day and on this day, it was Seth Smith who lined a base hit to center and Kiermaier’s errant throw went past Evan Longoria. Smith would score, but not due to Kiermaier’s throw but Alex Cobb who backed up Longoria and instead of holding onto the ball, Cobb’s throw bounced off Longoria.
Although Smith was credited with a base hit, the media is pinning the hit as a “Little League” home run.
Committing errors in consecutive games is also not part of Kiermaier’s repertoire, as you would have to go back to 2015, on Sept. 21 and 23 against Boston when he committed such. In addition, as an FYI in 2015 Kiermaier won his first Gold Glove despite committing five errors. Last season, Kiermaier committed only two.