Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley missed a couple games over the weekend with a stomach bug, but it’s safe to say that he’s thrilled to be back in the lineup.
He proved it with his effort on Monday.
Batting in the first inning of the Braves’ game 1 doubleheader against the Phillies, Riley drove a line drive to the left-center wall at Citizens Bank Park. It was the kind of contact that would have many players assuming it was a home run and leaving the batter’s box and half speed. Riley, though, took a different approach. He was sprinting the entire way.
Austin Riley chugs all the way around the bases! pic.twitter.com/Bxx4hJR0ie
— MLB (@MLB) September 11, 2023
Riley got an incredible jump out of the box and looked to be cruising in for a triple when left fielder Jake Cave bobbled the ball as he attempted to pick it up. That was all third base coach Ron Washington needed to see to give Riley the green light.
Now, Riley isn’t known for his speed. He’s a big dude and ranked in the 68th percentile in sprint speed, according to Statcast. But on that play he showed why it’s important to run out of the box. It was the difference between a stand-up double and a Little League home run (play was officially scored a triple and E7).
Fans also appreciated the hustle from Riley. That type of effort wins games.