Mere hours after Detroit’s Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game by a blown call by the first base umpire, the second base umpire in the Twins-Mariners game handed the game to the Mariners by blowing the call on a close play at second.
Granted, the Indians runner, shortstop Jason Donald, was more out at first–that is, out by a larger margin–than the Mariners runner. shortstop Josh Wilson, was at second. But Detroit still won the game while the Twins had what had been a tense and thoroughly entertaining pitcher’s duel taken from them by a terrible, terrible call. The result was an infield hit.
UPDATE 1: As Fetch of “Twinkie Talk” says in his post’s title, “That 2nd Base Ump [Dale Scott] Thanks God for Jim Joyce”, the first base umpire in the Cleveland-Detroit game. Read Fetch’s post; it’s more satisfying than mine for he doesn’t blog at MLB so he gets to use profanity.
UPDATE 2: Jon Marthaler of “Twinkie Town” nicely sets the whole scene and recounts the wretched, wretched ending of this game.
Pinch runner Ryan Langerhans was running as soon as the ball hit the bat and amidst the confusion at second base he was able to round third and score the winning run as the Twins fell to the Mariners, 1-2.
When even the Mariners’ broadcaster says, “Looks like the Mariners caught a break,” you know that the call was blown at second.
The trouble for me is that this was a great game, and now the Twins must scramble to come away with the series split, as they face King Felix in tomorrow’s series finale.
As indicated, this was a fantastic and well-pitched ballgame. Both starting pitchers were exceptional, the Twins’ Kevin Slowey and the Mariners’ Cliff Lee working deep into the game and shutting down the other teams’ batters.
Seattle’s Milton Bradley essentially manufactured their sole run prior to the ninth inning when he singled, stole two bases and then scored on a Casey Kotchman sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Holding a narrow 1-0 lead, Mariner starter Cliff Lee looked as though he would cruise only to be greeted rudely by Michael Cuddyer in the top of the seventh when he sent a 1-2 cut fastball into the seats to tie the game at 1.
The game continued with a playoff-like atmosphere, tension building each inning as it became more and more obvious that runs were going to be very hard to score.
This atmosphere continued into the ninth inning, only to be shattered by a wretched call at second.
I am pretty unhappy about the result because the guy looked out in real-time, on what is really a routine play at second when the ball is hit up the middle to the right of the second baseman in a situation when there is runner on first.
I guess second base umpire Dale Scott had someplace he had to be. Oh jeez, that means he’ll be handling duties at first base in Thursday night’s game.
In WPA news, both starting pitchers were more or less brilliant, with Seattle’s Cliff Lee contributing .314 WPA (8 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 ER) and Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey chipping in with .215 WPA (7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 ER). Ichiro is credited with .317 WPA on the strength of his two-out “single” that won the game, and Jose Mijares received -.395 WPA. Mauer was the Twins’ leading hitter with .169 WPA; even though Cuddyer was 2 for 4 with a homerun accounting for the Twins’ only run, he weighed in with -.50 WPA due to stranding 3 runners on base in his two hitless at bats. Ouch.
The WPA contributions of Ichiro and Mijares demonstrate a possible weakness in the WPA system: it goes solely by the result rather than by the process, and umpire Dale Scott created the result.
The MLB.com Wrap is here.
Bad day for the men in blue.