Kevin Kiermaier on why he keeps diving in the outfield
I’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s paper, but a few quick words on RF Kevin Kiermaier’s diving catch in the eighth inning of today’s 1-0 Rays win over the Tigers.
Kiermaier had misplayed a ball each of the last two nights, including the diving catch he failed to make Tuesday in an extra-innings loss to Detroit. Kiermaier blamed himself for the defeat after the game – instead of an out (or a single), the result was a triple, and Kiermaier still can’t explain how it happened.
Kiermaier has talked several times this year about knowing when to gamble on a play and when to play conservatively.
“I want my instincts to take over,” Kiermaier said. “I’ve just got to trust them and make the right decision at the right time. It’s just part of me maturing out there at the big-league level and knowing there’s a time and place for everything.”
Thursday’s dive was right for a few reasons. Although he initially was iffy on whether he could get it, Kiermaier later decided he could get there in time to make the play. If not, CF Desmond Jennings was running nearby and could keep the hit from becoming another triple.
Mainly, Kiermaier said he wants to continue to play aggressively because that’s what got him to this point. Teammate Evan Longoria even compared him to former Ray Sam Fuld.
“That’s the way I’ve been doing it my whole life,” Kiermaier said. “I can’t change anything. The other night, that really hurt when I made that big mistake there in the 11th. That’s a play I expect to make. Having another opportunity to make that play tonight, and I made it. I’m not going to change my ways by any means because that’s what got me here.”