In a head-scratching moment during the Colorado Rockies 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday afternoon, the umpiring crew that includes Angel Hernandez took time to huddle up and then review a fair-foul ruling that would NOT have resulted in a home run regardless of their determination, was not interfered with, and never came close to leaving the field of play.
Those are the three big criteria a call needs to be reviewed.
Of course we all remember Angel Hernandez from several bizarre incidents and rulings over the years, but the freshest in our minds is the botched home run review in Cleveland two weeks ago. These were entirely different circumstances that played out at Coors Field. The game was in no way decided by what happened, but it was no less weird, and the men in blue won't come off looking much better.
It happened during the sixth inning with Dexter Fowler at the plate. Fowler hit a towering fly ball down the right field line that was pushed into the corner by a pretty strong crosswind. The result was a ball striking high upon the wall, where only a white line separates fair from foul, before dropping back into play.
Though it hit high on the wall, at no point did it appear to be a home run or anything reviewable. In fact, Fowler and D-Backs' right fielder Gerardo Parra went through the motions as if the ball were live and in play, only stopping when first base umpire Doug Eddings' foul ball ruling had become clear. That was the correct call, by the way, as several replays confirmed Fowler missed a likely double by mere inches.
But here's where the situation became odd. Rockies manager Walt Weiss immediately discussed the call with Eddings, and then returned to his dugout. Before the next pitch, though, Weiss again reemerged from the dugout, this time seeking out home plate umpire Dana DeMuth. DeMuth then huddled with the entire crew, including Eddings, Hernandez and Adrian Johnson, before going back to review the play and confirming the original ruling.
Needless to say, pretty much everyone was confused. That includes Troy Renck, who's the Rockies beat reporter for the Denver Post.
Fowler hit moonshot down RF line..Was ruled foul. Rreview upheld it. Not sure why reviewed though when it would not have been HR regardless
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) May 22, 2013
The only explanation I can come up with is that Weiss specifically argued it was a home run during the second conference and the umpires felt it was somehow close enough to look at.
Would that be ridiculous if true? Pretty much. But that's all I can come up with other than...
Angel Hernandez on the cutting edge of expanding instant replay... figures.
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) May 22, 2013
It should be noted that Dana DeMuth is the crew chief of this specific crew. When Angel Hernandez and company botched the review in Cleveland, he was actually filling in for DeMuth who had the series off. This review wasn't Hernandez's call, but his involvement is still noteworthy, especially if you consider the accusations Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons' threw in Hernandez's direction following the Cleveland debacle.
Also, on the heels of veteran umpire Fieldin Culbreth being suspended and fined for misapplying the rules in Houston, it'll be interesting to see how MLB handles this situation. Will it again be seen as a judgment call on the umpires' behalf, just as it was in Cleveland? That in the eyes of the crew chief, it was close enough to meet the criteria for review. Or will MLB see it as another misapplication, in this case a misuse of the replay system, and hand down a reprimand (even a warning) of some sort?
I'm guessing they will rule on the judgment side, but it might be worth staying tuned to find out.
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Chris Davis’ hot-hitting season continued with four more hits, including his American League leading 14th home run, as the Orioles locked up an important division series with a 6-3 win over the New York Yankees. Davis’ two-run blast in the first inning capped a three-run rally against Hiroki Kuroda. Nick Markakis also homered in the inning. Matt Wieters later added a three-run homer that proved to be the difference.
All important hits in a big game, but it was Davis who kept the line moving with productive at-bat after productive at-bat. And as he noted after the game, the series was of utmost importance to the Orioles. And not just because it was their biggest competition within the division. David Ginsburg of the Associated Press tells us more:
In the opener Monday night, Baltimore closer Jim Johnson blew a ninth-inning lead and Baltimore absorbed its sixth straight loss. The Orioles rebounded to win in 10 innings on Tuesday night before coasting in the finale.
''Anytime a division rival comes in, you want to try to win the series especially when you're at home,'' Davis said. ''We avoided the snowball effect to some degree and were able to get back on track.''
The Yankees have also avoided the snowball effect this season despite numerous injuries. They added another on Wednesday night as Kuroda was forced to leave in the third inning after being struck on the calf by a Manny Machado line drive. At this time it's not believed to be a serious concern, but one could understand if Yankees fans held their breath a few hours longer.
Zack Cozart solves Matt Harvey: I think that officially makes Zack Cozart a baseball genius. Sure, a player here or a player there has put together a solid offensive game against Mets phenom Matt Harvey, but nothing nearly as complete as Cozart's four hit effort. Among the hits were two singles and two doubles. He also scored twice, but the game itself wasn't decided until the bullpens got involved. In the ninth, it was Cincinnati who broke through for three runs against Bobby Parnell to take home the 7-4 victory.
Another day, yet another walk...: Hold on, not so far there, San Francisco. Despite another late inning Giants rally to tie a game at home, the Washington Nationals emerged with the 2-1 victory thanks to Ian Desmond's tenth inning RBI single.
Shocking first for Jose Bautista: Would you believe — you probably won't — that Jose Bautista never had a walk-off hit going into Wednesday? It's true, or at least it was, because he changed history with a tenth inning single. It was also Bautista who sent the game to extra innings with a solo home run off Fernando Rodney leading off the ninth. Oh, and he homered in the fourth, stole a base, singled again, and walked for good measure. Not a bad series for most.
Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 1: Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco sit atop the NL West at 26-21.
Rangers 3, A's 1: 30-year-old Ross Wolf earns his first major league win with five outstanding innings.
Tigers 11, Indians 7: Justin Verlander's struggles continued, but his offense (and Michael Bourn) picked him up.
Angels 7, Mariners 1: Four straight wins for the Halos, though beating up on Seattle is pretty much everyone's gimmick these days.
Phillies 3, Marlins 0: Three-hit shutout hurled by Cliff Lee.
Red Sox 6, White Sox 2: Another " would you believe?" moment: David Ortiz stole third base.
Astros 3, Royals 1: James Shields could really use a couple more runs. That's all he asks.
Cardinals 5, Padres 3: Yadier Molina joined the four-hit parade.
''What was it, one walk, nine punchouts and two hits? Man, that's clean stuff.''
— Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Francisco Liriano's dominant outing. Liriano, along with Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, shutout the Cubs, 1-0.
• Miguel Cabrera has 50 RBI in 44 games. That's the fewest games for a Tigers player to reach 50 RBI since Hank Greenberg in 1937.
• Evan Gattis' grand slam traveled 344 feet. According to ESPN Stats, that's the shortest grand slam in MLB since May 16, 2009 when Jason Kubel hit one 341 feet off Mariano Rivera.
• According to Elias, the Mat Latos (4-0) vs. Matt Harvey (5-0) matchup was the third game in MLB history featuring two undefeated starters nine or more starts into season. They both earned no decisions.
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Tyler Skaggs dominated last night for Reno with 7+ innings of 1-run ball with 10 strikeouts.
Early pitching trouble for Cahill and a lackluster offense spelled doom for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday evening.
The hoped for return of Adam Eaton might have been pushed back, with our outfielder returning to Phoenix after experiencing what appears to be a setback in his recovery.
There are times when I just take an evening off from the Diamondbacks. I think I picked a good one last night. Here's to better this afternoon.
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