Javy Báez slowed between second and third base. He seemed to have realized his baserunning mistake, but it was too late to correct it.
There was only one out. Cubs manager David Ross benched Báez after his inning-ending gaffe in the fourth. Sergio Alcántara took Báez’s place at shortstop.
“We've just got to make sure we're focused and locked in during the game, and sometimes our frustrations can distract us a little bit,” Ross said. “We had a good conversation. I think that's behind us.”
Báez had reached first base on a fielder’s choice. With one out in the frame, Anthony Rizzo hit a long fly ball to left field. Báez took off like there were two outs.
“I blame it on myself,” Báez said. “I lost count of the outs.”
Cleveland left fielder Eddie Rosario relayed a throw over to first for the double play. No urgency needed. On the other side of the field, Báez didn’t attempt to retrace his steps.
“I was just surprised,” Báez said of Ross pulling him from the game. “Obviously, I never want to be out of the lineup. And I respect his decision.”
Asked if he would have benched any other player under the same circumstances, Ross pointed to last season when he benched Kyle Schwarber after he misplayed a ball off the left field wall.
“I'm not trying to set an example of Javy ever,” Ross said. “That guy plays his butt off and brings it 99.9 percent of the time. It’s not about setting an example for a star player that’s a big part of this team. That’s not it. It's just, let's get somebody in there that's fresh, and let him regroup, and he’ll be back for tomorrow.”