I think the umps are tired of the long seasons of incredibly back-breaking work and are ready to turn their jobs over to robot replacements. That's the only explanation I can think of.
I think the umps are tired of the long seasons of incredibly back-breaking work and are ready to turn their jobs over to robot replacements. That's the only explanation I can think of.
The umpires pulled a doozy last Saturday at Busch in the Cardinals/Royals series there.
In the first inning with runners on first and second, Eric Hosmer hit a bullet back to pitcher Joe Kelly. The only camera angle is from behind Kelly, and it looks like he trapped the ball, or it one-hopped him.
Kelly turns to throw to second to get the first out of a double play, but then hears his catcher yelling at him. He turns towards him and sees the home plate umpire signaling that the batted ball was out--that Kelly had caught the ball before it hit the ground.
Hosmer, meanwhile, is running to first, assuming the ball is a ground ball.
Kelly immediately throws to first. The first base umpire signals an out. He may be signaling a forceout on Hosmer, the batter, or on Chris Getz, the runner on first now occupying second. The Cardinals then throw to second base. Furcal steps on the bag and the second base umpire signals an out, clearly meaning Alex Gordon, who started the play on second and ran to third.
The Cardinals, having seen a triple play signaled, leave the field.
The Royals protest vehemently. Gordon stays on third. Getz stays on second.
Eventually, the umpires reverse the decision. Hosmer is out on a force at first. The other two runners hold their bases.
1. The Cardinals had an easy double play, but because the home plate umpire called an out, they did not throw to second initially.
2. The umpire at home claims he did not signal an out.
3. The problem with scenario number 2 is that both the second and third-base umpires thought he did as well. At third, Alex Gordon asks for a timeout, but is told he cannot get one, the ball is still in play. At second, the umpire signals an out when the ball finally gets there, even though Chris Getz is occupying the base.
In the end, what appears to have happened is that the home plate umpire did signal an out and then realized that he was wrong. Unfortunately, without video review or whatever else, him reversing his call after the play has ended is a HUGE no-no.
And until MLB decides to stand up to the umpire's union and take oversight, this is going to just get worse and worse.
Looks like the call is for juggling the ball. I could see where this might have conceivably been in his mind but there was no visual evidence to say otherwise.
Sarkus--yes I was totally wrong about Dickey. Not sure why that is stuck in my head. Sorry about that.
Darvish had some wicked pitches the other day, albeit against the Padres but that slider is fairly wicked. Watching Oswalt pitch his first MLB game of 2012 tonight.
Oswalt pitched decently tonight; he had decent stuff at times, but showed some particular vulnerability and thought that we were kinda lucky he only gave up that one run near the end of his outing. Seemed like he was learning the strike zone a bit, though he only walked one, and had a very good sub-70mph curve that started letter-high and ended up around the feet. Overall seemed like a good way to start and am sure glad he's here now.
The Indians continue to amaze me. Not so much that they're doing well, but how they're doing it. They're in first place heading into the last week of June with a run differential significantly lopsided in the wrong direction. Smoke and mirrors?
That was a wiffle-ball curve.
That was also one of the worst calls I've seen. Did the ump say he took his foot off the bag? The ball beat the guy by ten feet.
Dickey with 9 pitches in his perfect 1st tonight...will he make it 3 CG 1-hitters in a row??
Kevin Youklis traded to the White Sox and it sounds like Boston is picking up most of the contract. Wonder if he has anything left.
It's possible, especially if they put him at first.
I always enjoyed watching Youk play.
He's playing third. Konerko is at first. Youk is definitely a step up from Hudson and Morel.
Then our starting rotation has been up and down. Derek Lowe can pitch great if his sinker is working. If not, he'll give up 2 runs an inning until yanked, forcing one of those terrible front end relievers to pitch. Ubaldo has been an enigma, but after several terrible starts seems to have turned it around by focusing more on his fastball than his sinker.
Plus, a little smoke and mirrors, though I think our offense has actually been under performing.
Craziness at the end of the Rangers game; they led all the way 4-0 but because Harrison left early the bullpen is pushing through the remainder of the innings, and Nathan comes up for the 9th and the for the first time in a long time he's laboring. Loads the bases, gives up a single, then a sac fly to make it 4-2. Young is on second and Scutaro on first.
With one out and Giambi at the plate (and veins bulging out of his biceps), the ball scoots away from Napoli and rolls to his left about ten feet--far enough for the runners to try to advance. Napoli gets it and sees that Young has advanced maybe fifteen feet and stands frozen while Scutaro is more than halfway to second. Oops. Scutaro's in a rundown, but the Rangers seem very hesitant about it--none of the infielders are closing in on him, so Napoli makes the approach and gets to around the mound and long-throws to Michael Young, who's pretty far from Scutaro.
Now Scutaro breaks for second (Eli Young is running to third now) so Young throws to Andrus. Scutaro slides legs-first with his back to the umpire and gets in fairly easily under the tag, but immediately assumes he's out and starts to get up and run to the dugout. Andrus is looking at the umpire almost incredulously while the umpire signals that Scutaro's safe. Scutaro, who's taken a few steps, sees this at the same time and suddenly realizes what happened. He lunges back to second but is tagged out by a faster Andrus. Now there's two outs and a runner on third, and Giambi strikes out to end the game.
With Moreland out on the DL now and Gentry aggravating his ankle, the Cuban defector Leonsys Martin is now getting some starts, this time in right. He's shown a lot of promise in the minors for the last year and a half, and after an okay series against the Padres earlier he did really well today and nearly accounted for all of Texas' runs. Martin is not a first basemen though, which means more playing time for Young and Napoli at first base for the time being, potentially moving an outfielder like Nelson Cruz to DH and letting Martin play some. Apparently they had considered Youk as well, but didn't think he'd be happy with limited platoon-style playing time at first.
Tomorrow rookie Justin Grimm gets his second start, this time against the Tigers. He was decent in his first against the Astros, but this will be a different matter entirely against a powerful Detroit lineup.
As for the pitching... hrmmm. Holland is throwing again to get off the DL soon, but Feliz and Ogando are now out for a few months and Harrison strained a back muscle tonight after five innings (might miss a start, we'll see). The rest of the rotation is Lewis, Oswalt and Grimm. Feldman is still in the bullpen, who is now missing Ogando and Uehara. A little shakey to be sure all around. They are definitely not trying to rush too many young pitchers from the minors who probably aren't ready for it yet. Who knows, maybe they'll sign Jamie Moyer (who just got released from Baltimore) as a little extra insurance...
...and Justin Grimm just got hammered by the Tigers. Yikes.
Barry freakin' Zito is throwing a one-hitter against the Dodgers heading into the 7th!
Aaaaand it's gone.
So let's say you think you've seen everything in a baseball game.
Go grab a beer, or a coffee, or a soft drink of your choice. Have a seat. Let me regale you with the tale of what happened during innings 7 through 10 in Miami tonight.
First let's set the stage. Miami is leading St. Louis 2-0. Marlin starter Ricky Nolasco (who really does have much better stuff than you'd think by looking at his record) has been fantastic. Ricky is cruising.
Top of the 7th, 2-0 Marlins
To start the 7th Nolasco gets an easy pop out, but then David Freese singles. No problem: Nolasco retires eighth-place hitter Daniel Descalso on a fly out as well. 2 outs runner on first. Nolasco walks Skip Schumaker. Rafael Furcal reaches on an error. Bases loaded, and...passed ball. Freese scores. So far we've had an error and a passed ball. We're just getting started for crazy, believe me. Another walk (to Shane Robinson) and Matt Holliday, who is 8 for his last 15, is up. Nolasco is out of the game, replaced by reliever Edward Mujica. Holliday blisters Mujica's first pitch on a wicked line drive into the hole between first and second...that hits runner Shane Robinson. Runner is out on interference, Holliday credited with a single. Inning over.
Bottom of the 7th, 2-1 Marlins
Cardinals bring in pitcher Fernando Salas, who has been awful this season and proceeds to be awful again. He gives up a leadoff double and then a walk and records his only out when the Marlins sacrifice the runners to second and third. Rookie Cardinal manager Mike Matheny then violates standard operating procedure in baseball. He knows he wants to issue an intentional walk to the next hitter, but instead of having Salas do it, he pulls Salas and brings in Eduardo Sanchez to issue the IBB. With the bases loaded, Sanchez then proceeds to walk Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton, which brings in two runs for the Marlins. Sanchez is lifted, and Mark "Scrabble Rzepczynski comes in and induces a fielder's choice out for another Marlin run, and then surrenders an infield single to score another run for the Fish. He then retires Omar Infante to end the bleeding. Yep, we've had a pitcher walk in two runs. We're just getting started.
Top 8, Marlins lead 6-1
With one out, Carlos Beltran walks (if there was any doubt that walks are bad, let this game remove that) and Yadi Molina singles him to second. David Freese hits a sharp grounder to third, and Marlin 3b Hanley Ramirez chucks the throw into the dugout. By rule, runners are given the base they're headed for plus one, so Beltran scores and Molina and Freese stand and third and second respectively. Michael Dunn comes in as a relief pitcher and restores order by striking out the next two hitters to end the threat.
Bottom of the 8th, Marlins lead 6-2
A 1-2-3 oasis of peace. Young Cardinal reliever Sam Freeman sets down the Marlins in order. So yeah, between Dunn and Freeman, we even had good pitching in this mess.
Top of the 9th, Marlins lead 6-2
Beleaguered Marlins closer Heath Bell is in the game in a non-save situation. He walks Furcal (walks are bad, remember?) to lead off the inning, and then after striking out star-crossed Shane Robinson, surrenders a double to Matt Holliday. Runners at second and third, and Carlos Beltran singles home Furcal, with Holliday holding up at third. 6-3 game. Allen Craig lifts a sac fly. 6-4 game. 2 outs. Yadier Molina up....and Yadi tomahawks a 96 mph fastball into the left field bullpen for a game-tying HR. 6-6. Bell retires Freese to end the inning. (Man, a game tying HR to cap a 4-run ninth inning rally! It can't get any more entertaining than that, can it?) (Ha! Just wait! The fun is only beginning!)
Bottom of the 9th, Game tied, 6-6
It started so innocently, this ninth inning. Sam Freeman retires Jose Reyes on strikes. The Cardinals then want RH reliever Victor Marte to come in to face Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton. David Freese has made the final out of the Cardinals previous inning, so the intention is to also lift Freese who plays third (position number 5 for you scorekeepers) and have the pitcher occupy his spot in the order (which is the seventh spot.) Home plate umpire Bob Davidson is a bit confused and turns to Cardinal manager Matheny and asks who Marte is replacing in the order. Matheny signals "5", meaning that Marte is replacing Freese in the order. Davidson acknowledges to Handsome Mike that Marte is replacing Freese, but incorrectly on his scorecard inserts Marte into the fifth spot in the order and relays that information to Marlin manager Ozzie Guillen.
Now, that's a problem. Allen Craig, the St. Louis first baseman bats fifth. He's still in the game. With Tyler Greene in the game, the Cardinals are down to one position player on the bench--seldom-used backup catcher Tony Cruz. They have no intention of lifting Allen Craig.
So Stanton is batting and singles on the second pitch he sees. Ozzie Guillen then realizes that Craig is still in the game and calls it to Davidson's attention. Davidson realizes that there's been a major fuck up. He realizes he's put Marte, the pitcher, in the wrong spot, and now he can't change it. He tells the Cardinal manager, and after some heated discussion Handsome Mike has to put Cruz in at first base. This entire mess takes nearly 20 minutes to sort out, the whole while Marte is throwing pitches to stay loose.
And so with a backup catcher (Cruz is a good athlete and has played some first base before) out there, Marte walks Stanton on 4 pitches. Gabi Sanchez pinch hits, and grounds sharply to second. Greene steps on second for one out and then throws low and in the dirt to try to turn the double play. Hey! Backup catcher at first! They dig balls out of the dirt all day long for practice! Tony Cruz assumes a perfect catchers stance and takes the ball deftly out of the sand and records the third out....just like Mike Matheny planned all along. To extra innings! (Much weirdness yet to come.)
Top of the tenth, game tied 6-6
Top of the tenth, and with one out Tyler Greene--who might be the worst player in baseball right now--singles past an almost rangeless Hanley Ramirez at third. Rafael Furcal grounds a double past third and down into the corner, and Greene--who can at least run well--scores from first to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game, 7-6. Shane Robinson flies out. With two outs, Matt Holliday is hit by a pitch that barely misses his bat for strike three. Runners on first and second. The Cardinal cleanup hitter, MVP candidate Carlos Beltran, is up. But--remember--the Cardinals are out of position players, and the pitcher is batting in the fifth spot in the order. Ozzie Guillen knows this, and orders an intentional walk of Beltran. The Cardinals have to bat a pitcher with the bases loaded and 2 outs.
Now, the Cardinals have this kid in their rotation named Joe Kelly. Supposed to be a good athlete, played outfield in college ball at UC-Riverside. Kelly's 0-3 in his brief major league career. Marlin pitcher Chad Gaudin throws Kelly a slider, and Kelly's knees buckle and the pitch is right over the heart of the plate. Strike 1. Gaudin throws another slider, and Kelly swings, but misses it by a foot and a half. Strike 2. Gaudin offers a third slider, and Kelly lunges at it and tops a chopped ground ball to shortstop Jose Reyes. Reyes has to double clutch for a second, and then throws a one-hopper to first. Doesn't matter. Apparently Joe Kelly is actually the third-fastest player on the Cardinals. Yes, that's right, a pitcher is faster than Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay. Kelly was flying down the line full out, beat out the hit, and Furcal scores from third. 8-6 game. To review: Tony Cruz makes a tough play that was helped by him being a backup catcher to end a threat in the ninth, and then the pitcher forced to bat in the tenth gets his first career hit and first career RBI because he's so damn fast. As the Fake Mike Matheny twitter feed put it: "Hey Ozzie Guillen: you're playing checkers while I'm playing chess." Gaudin gets out of the inning by fanning Yadier Molina.
Bottom of the 10th, Cardinals lead 8-6.
Cardinal closer Jason Motte starts off his save opportunity auspiciously by striking out Greg Dobbs. Omar Infante, though, doubles off the wall. Marlin center fielder Scott "Identical" Cousins strikes out, so there are two outs. This crazy game is over, right, with .170-hitting catcher John Buck up there? Not so fast. Buck taps a seeing-eye grounder through the hole at short and third, and Infante scores. 8-7. Motte then walks pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano to move the tying run to scoring position, and put the winning run on base. Jose Reyes is up. Reyes scorches a line drive...but just like game 6 of the 2006 LCS, he hits it right at Cardinal centerfielder Shane Robinson, and the game is finally over.
In the postgame, Handsome Mike was very respectful of the gaffe made by Bob Davidson in the ninth, but expect it to be part and parcel of even louder calls for more umpire oversight in the game.
Heath Bell is stealing the Marlins' money.
Fox Sports Midwest has now aired on-the-field video of umpire Bob Davidson telling the Marlins skipper "I fucked up Ozzie. He told me seven."
Time for Bob Davidson to retire.
Blue Jays signed Jamie Moyer to a minor league deal. They definitely need a pitcher.
I'm not sure I would have stuck with that play. Damn.
Thats Jack Hannahan, the "Celtic Hero of the Cuyahoga!"
He was essentially viewed as an elite defensive player whose poor hitting took away his value to most teams. The Indians signed him to a minor league deal to get some infield depth in 2011, and gave him to the starting job to give "3rd basemen of the future" Lonnie Chisenhall time to develop in the minors. It was a job he wouldn't have gotten without Jason Donald breaking a finger in spring training. Since getting the job, he's been a wonderful surprise for Cleveland. He isn't an elite hitter by any measure, but he seems to have figured things out and is now above average. Furthermore, he put together a string of clutch hits and home runs that endeared him to fans. Pair that with his glove and you have a pretty good starting 3rd baseman.
Still, Chisenhall was hitting the ball like a demon in AAA, so Hannahan knows he has to perform to keep his spot, and that means keeping his eye on the ball while dodging a bat. I hope that both keep on doing well, since I chalk up having to figure whether to keep the performing veteran or give at bats in the upcoming rookie with issues to be ironed out (right now, he has like 5 walks on the entire season) as a good problem to have.
Dave Cameron has given up on Justin Smoak. His argument in a nutshell:
Its hard to be hopeful in the face of that.In the last 30 years, there have been 55 first baseman (including Smoak) who have been given 1,000+ plate appearances through their age 25 season. Every single one of them hit better than Smoak has, and we’re not just talking raw numbers that can be explained away by Safeco Field or the change in run environments. By wRC+, which accounts for both a player’s home park and the average performance of the league at the time, Smoak’s 87 is the worst of the 55 players on the list.
eh. Feel bad for the guy but he's pretty much showing the exact same thing he showed in Texas, in a hitter's park. Not consistent enough to make that big of a difference. Sending him to the minors will not help; he had a history of tearing it up in AAA. Soon as you call him up.. bring in the Smoak and mirrors jokes. Chris Davis (now with Baltimore) pretty much the same way, though I think overall he's slightly better.
That seems to be the MO for a lot of first basemen. They all tear it up in AAA but are inconsistent in the bigs. Anthony Rizzo is getting a second chance now with the Cubs. Wonder how he'll fare since he was smoking it in AAA but he did that last year too. And when he was called up by the Padres he didn't do much.
Same is true for all the Giants first basemen of the last decade, all arrive with great expectations but eventually none have panned out.