When umpires make a call that goes against your team and costs them a game, you more than likely get all fired up and might even demand changes like instant replay be added to the game. Such was the case after the Boston Red Sox‘ heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, after Daniel Nava safely slid home with the tying run in the eighth inning, but was nonetheless called out.
But when the umps make a call that benefits your team, it often gets overlooked. Such was the case last night in the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Seattle Mariners. The win will be most remembered for the amazing ninth-inning comeback of a game they were losing 7-1 in the eighth inning. However, it was yet another amazing comeback win for the 2013 Red Sox, and it wouldn’t have happened were it not for the overzealous umpiring crew.
After Shane Victorino cut the score to 7-2 with a an eighth-inning home run, the Red Sox bats got to Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth. After scoring a run, and with runners on first and second with no outs, interim manager Robby Thompson walked to the mound and gestured to the bullpen with his left arm, signaling his desire to bring in lefty Oliver Perez. He quickly corrected himself and emphatically raised his right arm for right-handed Yoervis Medina.
This is when the umpires asserted their authority. Although it’s not a rule in baseball, when managers signal with a certain arm it has become common practice for that to indicate which pitcher will come in. The umpires ultimately make the call on the pitcher and they decided that this was an unforgivable infraction on Thompson’s part. Perez was forced to come in against two-straight right handed batters, Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, who both singled.
Pedroia’s single made the score 7-6. After David Ortiz struck out for the only out of the inning, the umpires once again made a call favorable towards Boston. Jonny Gomes stared at a 2-2 pitch from Medina that clearly caught the outside edge of the strike zone. It was called a ball and Gomes ended up lining the next pitch up the middle for the game-tying single. Nava broke the tie with his game-winning hit immediately after that.
The bad strike call happens. The Red Sox have been the victims of this before and it’s unfortunately a part of the game. The ruling on which pitcher is brought in is silly though, and has no place in the MLB. To say that a coach has made his decision about who to bring in based on the movement of his arm is a ridiculous rule to enforce. As a matter of fact, it’s not a rule at all, so why are umps enforcing this? Well, let’s hope Red Sox Manager John Farrell was paying attention, because now he knows to be very careful next time he pulls one of his pitchers out.
Regardless, it was a huge game for the Red Sox to win, in what is quickly becoming a magical 2013 season.