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Major League Baseball umpires try their best to officiate what can be a pretty complicated game at times, and for the most part, they do a pretty steady job at making sure the game goes well. However, mistakes are bound to be made since these are humans that we’re talking about, and sometimes that can end up being the difference between a win and a loss for teams on certain nights. That was the case on Friday night, which is when the home plate umpire for the Yankees-Red Sox game probably cost the Red Sox at least another inning of play.
In the top of the ninth with David Ortiz at bat, Andrew Miller was behind on a 3-1 count with the bases loaded and threw a pitch that Ortiz figured was a ball. Instead, it was called a strike and this prompted Boston manager John Farrell to leave the dugout and argue the call so that Ortiz wouldn’t get ejected. He succeeded in falling on the sword for Ortiz, but Ortiz would still end up getting the hook after the next pitch. That’s because that particular pitch was even lower than the previous, but it was still called strike three. Big Papi threw a Big Fit and got ejected, and then Hanley Ramirez struck out swinging to end the game 3-2 in favor of the Yankees.
The final two called strikes on Ortiz definitely didn’t pass the eye test, and they barely passed the graphical test (via Brooks Baseball). It was the culmination of what had been a rough night for home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, and it was also proof that even with all of the attempts to optimize the rules and replay, the “human element” is still alive and well in baseball umpiring. Sure, both Farrell and Ortiz could’ve done a better job of containing their emotions, but when it comes to a big-time ninth-inning at-bat in the most famous rivalry in baseball being decided by some questionable calls, do you really blame them for losing it like they did? At least there’s always the next game — even for the umps.
- The Angels have lost Garrett Richards due to a UCL tear, and they are in a pretty horrible spot right now.
- This horrible spot may include having to seriously entertain trade offers for Mike Trout. Can any team in baseball actually put up a good and fair offer for the game’s best player?
- We’re a month into the Kenta Maeda experience. Is his first month a sign of things to come, or is it a mirage?
- Tim Lincecum finally had his showcase, and he actually looked pretty good on the mound.
- The Marlins hit some massive dingers on Friday night, which included a 475-foot rope from renowned dinger artist Giancarlo Stanton.
- Braves GM John Coppolella spoke on Fredi Gonzalez’s job security, but never gave the manager a clear vote of confidence. Hm…
- Baseball cancelled the series in Puerto Rico between the Pirates and the Marlins, and the family of Roberto Clemente is none-too-pleased with that news.
- Jung Ho Kang returned from injury in glorious fashion on Friday night, as he hit two homers that pushed the Pirates to victory over the Cardinals.
- Ivan Rodriguez played a major role in revitalizing the Detroit Tigers in the mid-’00s, and he talked to Bless You Boys about why he chose to join the Tigers back in 2004.