Defense point of pride for Matt Adams -

Defense point of pride for Matt Adams

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By John Bailey By John Bailey
By John Bailey By John Bailey

(BaseballStL) -- Most, if not all, of the talk surrounding Matt Adams over the past two days has focused on the long ball. And it should be.

But even though Adams' home run Saturday night was the eventual game decider, his defensive play in the ninth saved his closer and ended the game. And that deserves to be talked about, as well.

With the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman on first and one out, Danny Espinosa shot a ground ball toward Adams, who stepped on first.

Zimmerman tried to catch Adams off guard by trying to run back to first instead of toward second base and a sure out. But Adams, who recently returned from the disabled list, wasn't fooled.

"Yea, I was ready to throw it and I got the ball out of my glove and I saw him running right back at me," he explained, "so I just tagged him."

It was a game ending unassisted double play off a ground ball, pretty uncommon. In fact, Adams said he was pretty confident this was his first ever.

Even manager Mike Matheny was impressed with the footwork shown by Adams and his thought process once fielding the ball.

"He's actually really quick on that first step, which is so important for our corner infield," Matheny said, "That was a great instinct play to get to the bag and then look to see what he had to deal with."

Coming into the season knowing he was taking the helm at first base, Adams said his defense was a priority from day one.

"It was something that I went into the offseason wanting to work on," he said, "As soon as I got to spring training, I grabbed Jose and continued to keep working. And try to do anything I can to improve that."

Last season, Adams started just 63 games at first, splitting time with Allen Craig. He was apart of 70 double plays and made 598 put outs in 650 chances. And he only committed two errors.

The Philipsburg, Pennsylvania native has already started 43 games at first - even with missing 13 games with a calf strain - and with little doubt he will surpass last year's numbers. Although, he has already committed three errors.

Only one of those errors, in a game against Milwaukee on April 16, hurt the Redbirds by leading to a run. 

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