Wednesday, August 14, 2013

MLB's Poor Umpiring Helps Yankees Blast Halos

The cry for instant replay is going to reach a crescendo sooner rather than later. With a 162 game regular season schedule we've witnessed many mistakes by the men in blue year in and year out. It's affected the biggest stage as well during the post-season.

While it may not cost a team a post-season series, it could help decide who reaches the post-season. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels are two teams battling to stay above water, so when a call possibly costs them a game, you bet plenty of people stand up and take notice.

Last week in Chicago, home plate umpire Alan Porter erroneously called Brett Gardner out at the plate when he was clearly safe. The "erased" run helped cost the Yankees the game. Tuesday night's contest with the Angels saw the wrong call go in the Yankees favor. Chris Nelson, who spent a few weeks in a Yankees uniform this season, was on third base for Los Angeles with one out in the 6th inning and the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead.

Tommy Field lifted a fly ball to left that enabled Nelson to race home ahead of Alfonso Soriano's throw to tie the game at 4-4. Or did it? Catcher Austin Romine threw the ball to Jayson Nix at third and home plate umpire David Rackley called Nelson out. Needless to say Angels manager Mike Scioscia went ballistic. Replays showed that Nelson did not leave third base early - his foot was still on the base when the ball landed in Soriano's glove.

It was Rackley's responsibility to watch Nelson since the third base umpire, Brian Gorman, had to make sure the ball was caught. So standing 90 feet away Rackley determined that Nelson left before the ball was caught which allowed the Yankees to record a double play rather than make an appeal.

Instead of a tie game and lead off hitter J.B. Shuck coming to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs, the inning was over with the Yankees still in the lead. It enabled CC Sabathia to stay in the ball game and pick up his 10th win of the season. The Yankees also had their biggest offensive explosion in what seemed like a decade and held on for a 14-7 win.

Alfonso Soriano had his first big game back in pinstripes with a pair of home runs and a career high six RBI. Alex Rodriguez ripped a 2-run double to the base of the wall in left, Vernon Wells homered for the first time since May, and Eduard Nunez had four ribbies.

It was an odd game to say the least. Sabathia only allowed three hits, but walked six hitters. He also struck out seven so there was plenty of "no contact baseball" when he was in there. The double digit win total made Sabathia just the fifth pitcher since 1900 to win 10 or more games in their first 13 seasons. The others are Tom Seaver, Don Sutton, Eddie Plank, and Carl Hubbell.1

The game was held up by rain for 26 minutes with two outs in the top of the 8th inning. When play resumed Dellin Betances struck out rookie Grant Green with a 97-mph fastball to end the inning. Unfortunately, Betances didn't have the same good fortune in the 9th inning when he was tagged for four runs after he struck out Chris Iannetta to start the frame. Joba Chamberlain came on to record the final two outs - a seven run lead may be the only time Joba is trusted now.

1 - Elias Sports Bureau

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