Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy admitted that he added a sprinkle of Hollywood into Saturday's controversial 2-1 victory against the New York Yankees.
Muncy was involved in the game's defining play, a bang-bang force out in the ninth inning that resulted in two different replay reviews and ended with a controversial timeout that ultimately negated the game-tying run.
The timeout was called by Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and granted by the umpires after Muncy appeared injured by Brett Gardner's hard slide.
Though according to Muncy, he was playing up his pain in order to prevent New York's Gleyber Torres from scoring the tying run on the play.
Max Muncy said he was doing a little "soccer" move at 2B so the umps would call time and not allow Gleyber to score.
"He still got me good, it still hurt, so it wasn't entirely fake, but there might have been a little acting class in there."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 25, 2019
How the play unfolded
Brett Gardner, who's been right in the middle of every confrontation the Yankees have had with the umpires over the last month, was called out at second base on a force play.
The Yankees challenged the out called, which ended up getting overturned. That meant Gardner was safe.
The Dodgers countered with their own challenge on the basis that Gardner's slide was illegal. Had the umpires agreed, the batter, in this case Gio Urshela, would have been ruled out. Instead, the umpire's upheld the original call. That kept the bases loaded.
To that point, everything had gone in the Yankees favor. However, there was another factor involved. In the immediate aftermath of the play, which is when Muncy was writhing on the ground, Torres raced home from third base to score what he thought was the tying run.
The umpires then huddled and determined that Jansen's timeout came first, thus creating a dead ball situation. As such, Torres was ordered back to third base.
Two batters later, the Dodgers won the game after Jansen recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Mike Tauchman and Gary Sanchez.
How the Yankees reacted
After three ejections and a suspension following heated run-ins with umpires, Yankees manager Aaron Boone is clearly not on the same page with MLB's umpires right now.
Though he wasn't ejected on Saturday, Boone was plenty angry and searching for answers.
Aaron Boone: "It looked to me like Gleyber already started down the line with a guy down on the field." pic.twitter.com/RsmjZQ3RaZ
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 25, 2019
Replays showed Boone might have an argument.
At the very least, he’s intent on getting a thorough explanation. Boone didn’t specifically mention a protest, but he didn’t rule out considering one either.
#Yankees thought Gleyber Torres broke for home before Jansen called timeout on force play at 2B. They may protest. “We’ll certainly inquire with everyone and try to get a good explanation,” MGR Aaron Boone said.
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) August 24, 2019
Why a protest is unlikely
Per section 4.19 of the MLB rulebook, only errors in the interpretation of the rules can be the object of a protest. Judgement calls, such as the calling of balls and strikes, or calling a baserunner safe or out, cannot be protested.
Boone's beef would seemingly fall under the "judgement call" category as well since it was the umpire's determination that timeout had been called.
It’s possible, if not likely, that Saturday will be the last we hear of a potential protest publicly. But there could still be some fallout after the Yankees catch wind of Muncy's admission.
The Yankees and Dodgers have split the first two games in their rare regular season series. The rubber match will be featured on “Sunday Night Baseball.”
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