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Sports Medley: Baseball Playoffs foul-ups 9 Oct 17

by Tony Medley

Umpire bad call decides game in first inning: An example of why baseball needs automated ball-strike calls came with one out and two men on in the bottom of the first inning of the Yankees-Minnesota Wild Card game and Minnesota leading 3-0 after a scintillating top of the first inning. Minnesota pitcher Johan Santana threw a perfect 2-2 pitch to Yankee Didi Gregorius with two men on base that the video showed was on the lower inside corner across the plate and should have been strike three. The home plate umpire, who is in the worst position possible to call low pitches, called the pitch a ball to make the count 3-2. Predictably, Gregorius slammed the next pitch for a three run home run to tie up the game, completely turning the momentum around and the Yankees won, 8-4 If the pitch is properly called a strike Gregorius would have been called out on strikes and the Yankees would not have scored and Minnesota would have retained the momentum and probably won the game. That home run palpably lifted the spirits of the Yankees and lowered the spirits of Minnesota. But if balls and strikes were called automatically by machine, Gregorius would have been on the bench and Minnesota would have retained the lead and the momentum. It’s time for baseball to come into the 21st Century and correct its worst evil, the imperfect calls of balls and strikes, the most important part of the game.

Players need to learn the rules: In the Houston-Boston game on Sunday in the bottom of the second inning, Boston loaded the bases with one out and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts hit a ground ball to the Houston first baseman, Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel threw to the plate to get one out. But the catcher Brian McCann did not throw to first base to double up Bogaerts to end the inning, even though Bogearts was running out of the baseline and was blocking McCann’s ability to make a throw to Gurriel to complete the double play. Had McCann known the rule, thrown the ball and hit the runner, the runner would have been out for interference ending the inning. But, as I’ve said before in this column, the rule requires that the throw be made in order for the interference call to be made. The result was that the inning continued with Boston having the bases full and another chance to score.

Managers losing a game by pulling dominating pitchers:  #1.The bottom of the sixth inning of the second Yankees-Houston game with the Yankees leading 8 to 3 and Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia dominating, he walked the first batter  after throwing 74 pitches. Yankee manager Joe Girardi, in his brilliance, reacting to today’s managers’ knee-jerk response, pulled Sabathia and put in Chad Green. Moments later, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam home run off of Green to make the score 8-7, and Girardi had pulled defeat from the jaws of victory as Cleveland eventually won 9-8 in the 13th inning. The moral of this familiar story is, leave starting pitchers who are dominating in the game like they did back when baseball was baseball and not run by sabermetricians and their goofy theories!

#2. In the third game of the Washington-Chicago playoff series, Washington pitcher Max Scherzer was pitching a no-hitter. With one out in the bottom of the 7th inning, he allowed a double to Ben Zobrist. Out comes manager Dusty Baker and out of the game goes Scherzer! Well, after all, Scherzer had thrown 98 pitches and everyone who worships at the Sabermetrician Altar knows that pitchers become pumpkins with the 100th pitch. So Scherzer’s replacements allowed Zobrist to score and allowed a run in the bottom of the 8th and Chicago won, 2-1, and took a 2-1 lead in the Series. Even Zobrist thought the move was goofy, saying, “I wouldn’t have taken him out the way he was pitching.” This idiotic handling of starting pitchers by every manager in the major leagues is what makes baseball virtually unwatchable.