Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: We need to talk about Kevin Kiermaier’s glove a little more

By Kurt Mensching
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) catches a hit by Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) to end the first inning in game three of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) catches a hit by Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) to end the first inning in game three of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was having a heck of a game in the ALCS until he was hit by a pitch

It’s too early to say whether Kevin Kiermaier will be in the Tampa Bay Rays starting lineup in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series vs. the Astros.

He was hit by a pitch in the hand by a 99 mph pitch in the sixth inning of the game Tuesday. He stayed in the game long enough to run (and score a run), but came out after that.

X-rays taken during the game were negative.

Kiermaier said he was in some pain (and expectedly so), per ESPN:

"“My hand feels like it got hit by 99 miles per hour right in the wrist. X-rays are negative, so I’ll take that,” Kiermaier said after the Rays’ 5-2 win at Petco Park in San Diego. “But I am in some pain, some soreness going on. It is what it is, but we’ll try and get it as good as it can get as soon as can be, and that’s the plan, so we’ll go from there.”"

Keirmaier’s done fairly well in the series by Rays standards, tied with Mike Zunino for the third-most total bases on the team with 14, trailing Randy Arozarena’s 35 and Manny Margot’s 15 for what it’s worth.

However, where he’s really shined is with his play in the outfield, which likely comes as no surprise to anyone.

Keirmaier was 13th among all MLB players in Outs Above Average at Baseball Savant for the 2020 regular season and has three Gold Glove awards (and one Platinum) to his name.

After Manuel Margot’s spectacular catch in Game 2, Kiermaier became a human highlight reel in the field in Game 3.

MLB.com put together a 4-minute video of some of Keirmaier’s more notable efforts, which is an enjoyable watch for any baseball fan, except maybe Astros fans, today.

Two catches were most notable.

He started off the effort in the first inning with a leaping play at the centerfield wall that may have stole a home run from Alex Bregman. (Some dispute whether the ball would have truly left the field, though it appears that it would have.)

In the third inning, it was Carlos Correa’s time to suffer the pains of Keirmaier’s glove.

Running toward right field, Keirmaier made a diving leap to make the catch for the inning’s final out. Runners were on first and second at the time, so he stole at least one run with the grab, and the Astros could have collected two if he dove and the ball got by him.

According to Statcast, he ran 64 feet in just 3.8 seconds to make the catch. The chance of making the catch was just 20 percent.

That is some game he had, and it would be quite a loss for the Rays (and fans) if he couldn’t play in a potential World Series clinching Game 4.

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