It was two seamless, elegant flips just beyond second base, where the infield dirt turns to grass.
In the Royals’ 7-5 loss to the White Sox, it was the two plays that showed how rock solid the middle of the infield is with second baseman Raul Mondesi in the fold next to Alcides Escobar at shortstop.
“They’re both tremendous — both of them have tremendous range, and they both have great hands, and they both have great baseball instincts,” manager Ned Yost said. “We feel like we’re well covered defensively up the middle of the diamond.”
The first was a ground ball from White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu which hopped over pitcher Edinson Volquez to start the fourth. Mondesi ranged to his right, tossed to Escobar, who was closing in and made the throw in rhythm.
Plays like that, Escobar said, are the kind of things players pick up from playing shortstop, which Mondesi has done plenty of coming up through the minor leagues.
“This kid, he can move into the middle, come into the other side, and he’s got a good range,” Escobar said. “When you play shortstop, you can play another position like Mondesi easily. And this kid is 21 years old, so he can move real fast.”
The next was a Tyler Saladino groundball in the sixth. On this one, it was Escobar ranging to the middle, grabbing the choppy grounder and flipping it to Mondesi, who easily turned two. You can watch that play here.
Mondesi has only played 12 games in Kansas City this season, but the two in the middle have already grown accustomed to each other. The two plays on Tuesday were some indication of that.
And maybe the glove high-five after the 4-6-3 double play was as well.
“I’m happy to make that play,” Escobar said. “I like (playing with) Raul Mondesi at second base.”