|Ryan Kalish: ‘I can smile about it now’||06.20.12 at 12:51 am ET|
There was a collective gasp among the 37,701 inside Fenway Park when Ryan Kalish dropped the fly ball of Jose Reyes to open the seventh inning, with the Red Sox hanging on to a 7-5 lead.
Kalish – in his first game back at Fenway this season – got a good jump off the bat, ran to the spot like any good major league outfielder does, stuck out his glove and expected the ball to float right into the web.
The ball glanced off the tip of his glove and went to the wall for a three-base error and the Marlins were in business against Matt Albers and the Red Sox.
“Just missed it,” Kalish said, while breaking into a grin that a kid gives to a parent when he’s been caught doing something wrong. “Obviously, I can smile about it now but at the time, I wasn’t. I just dropped it. There’s no excuse for that and it won’t happen again.”
This was quite the bumpy night for Kalish filled with plenty of turbulence.
In the fifth, he misjudged a two-out fly ball off the bat of Logan Morrison that landed close to the base of the wall in left-center. That apparent miscue allowed the Marlins to tie the game, 5-5.
“We talked about it,” Kalish said. “With two outs, I probably should have tried to go to the wall first. If there were no outs, I could’ve played it different. I haven’t been in this park in a while. I’m going to make an adjustment.”
Then in the sixth he struck out for the second out with an important insurance run standing just 90 feet away at third, in the person of Daniel Nava. He appeared so disheartened that he forgot to run to first after swinging at the pitch in the dirt. The throw was made to first and Nava had to hold.
Kalish said the previous blunders had nothing to do with “The Drop” in the seventh.
“That wasn’t really in my head, especially with that play,” Kalish said. “It was just one of those things, you drop a ball. I really can’t remember ever dropping a ball like that in my life. It’s funny it happened in the big leagues.”
While Albers got two outs, Bobby Valentine decided to pull the reliever and insert Andrew Miller. During the pitching change, Cody Ross came over to play the role of big brother.
“He’s such a good outfielder,” Ross said. “This place can get the best of you. I’ve had my troubles out there as well. I just told him that. I said, ‘Listen, man, we’ve all done it, we’ve all dropped fly balls. I dropped one this year already. I’ve misplayed a few balls. It happens. Shake it off. You’re a great outfielder and we’re going to get out of this right here.’ The bullpen came in and did a great job of not letting them get that run in right there.”
Ironically and appropriately, it was Morrison flying out to Kalish to end the inning without a run scoring.
“I had a ton of support from the guys, Cody especially, having so much experience,” Kalish said. “When they made that pitching change right after, he just kind of talked to me and calmed me down. That really helped me out, got my confidence back.”
And his calming words?
“He had done it himself,” Kalish said of Ross’ conversation with him. “He’s done it before in his career.”
Ross wasn’t the only player to offer advice. Kevin Youkilis gave his during the seventh inning stretch.
“Even Youk sat me down after that inning,” Kalish said. “[I told him] that’s the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done. He told me, ‘if that’s the most embarrassing thing you do in the big leagues, you’re going to be all right. For now, hopefully, keep it there.’”
Kalish did admit his strike out in the sixth didn’t make his night any better. But he is trying to keep things in perspective.
“That’s baseball,” he said. “I have to keep it a little bit more in perspective. In talking to [hitting coach] Dave Magadan [reminds me] that since I’ve left Florida, I’ve played in 17 games. I feel a little hard on myself, especially at the plate. I need to keep things in perspective and not feel so much and put so much pressure on myself. And I think that doing that and making that adjustment will help my success at the plate. This is where I want to be. You get up here and you want to make the most of your chances. But I think putting that pressure on myself will only hurt me, not help me.”
Again, Kalish was adamant that his hitting won’t carry over to his fielding, despite what the sixth and seventh inning looked like.
“That wasn’t even in my head,” Kalish said. “Once I’m done with hitting and I go out there, I check that all out. After I made that drop, I was like, ‘Wow, I just struck out and now I dropped this ball. That stinks.’ But it wasn’t in my head at the time. It was just one of those days, man.”
Kalish redeemed himself in the eighth when Gaby Sanchez drilled a liner to the triangle in center with a runner on second. Kalish raced over like he did to left-center an inning earlier. This time, though, the glove stayed open long enough for the ball to find the webbing for the third out.
“Just making that play in the eighth, that was big, going along that wall in the corner,” Kalish said with another smile. “I was really happy about that.”
- Cup of Coffee: Bradley, Holt shine in PawSox loss
- Xander Bogaerts, Portland to headline Futures at Fenway
- SoxProspects Video of the Week: Matt Barnes
- Cup of Coffee: Henry, Diaz propel Pawtucket to blowout victory
- Cup of Coffee: Spring's walk-off grand slam lifts Portland
- Bradley: "Everything's back to normal"
- Cup of Coffee: PawSox, Drive produce walk-off wins
- PawSox activate Jackie Bradley, Jr. from disabled list
- Weekly Notes: De La Rosa, Betts take center stage
- Cup of Coffee: Shaw leads 18-hit attack in Sea Dogs rout