Instant Controversy Dooms Rays
I am going to lead with this today to get this off my chest and out of my system. I have replayed that video so many times that ESPN has prompted me to stop becuase it is tying up valuable Internet traffic space. I have used the slow motion, the isolated and the paused shot of the ball hitting the “D” ring about 3 feet to the left of it( which makes it foul).
Now that I know the ball hit in foul territory, did it go over the foul pole, or to it’s right on the path from home plate. The reactions from three different people can tell the tale of the tape here. Rays catcher Dioner Navarro, of course, would want it to be foul. As he saw it, the ball clearly hit the back ring in foul territory. The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez wants it to be fair because it makes him the lone holder of 12th place All Time on the home run list, finally pushing ex-Phille Mike Schmidt to the sidelines.
And then you have the home plate umpire, Greg Gibson who knew we had the technology now to view it and make a correct call, asked for an umpires conference. Crew Chief Charlie Reliford decided to wander into the replay alcove and call MLB/ NYC Central and get the final video review and to post their findings. After 2 1/4 minutes, the umpires came out and Gibson immediately signaled a home run for A-Rod.
I do not agree with the call, I think the ball did slice to the left of the foul pole above it’s highest point, but I am of this decision not as a Rays’ fan, but as a guy who wants them to get it right finally. In this game there were 4 different calls either at the plate or at first base that did not flow right. I heard the commentary of the radio crew on the replay and on the suspected plays on the diamond and know that they were botched calls.
But perception is key here. At what angle do you take as being true in the replay. The uppper deck video camera on the first base side set about 50 feet to the right of the pole, or the thrid base side camera in the upperdeck that is set about 15 feet to the right of the poles’ center.
I will just leave it up to everyone to form their own opinions. I am just glad the play did not decide the game….that would have been a true crime story.
Here is the video from ESPN:
It is finally coming out to light that B J Upton’s shoulder has been bothering him most of the second half of the season. If you sat where I do and watch his swings and his posture at the plate you can tell that he is shifting his weight to compensate for something. I am glad that he finally came clean with the information and that we now know that Upton is doing more for pain management than just going through the motions at the plate.
Upton again came up big for the Rays last night going 2-5 with 33rd double and his 41st stolen base after a single to left in the 5th inning. His 41st stolen base moves him into second place in the AL, just three behind Boston’s Jacob Ellsbury. His double also moves him into a tie for 15th in the AL in that category. Also with his 40th steal on Sunday, Upton became only Ray, besides Crawford to reach the 40 steal plateau in a season.
Eric Hinske’s dive for Robinson Cano’s blooper single to left would not have been an error in any fashion. The ball was tailing away from Hinske when he left his feet, and he made a galliant effort to even get the ball within his body to keeo Cano from extra bases. Hinske’s hustle this season while Carl Crawford has been on the DL is a welcome sight. His bat is superior to Crawford’s right now, but his outfield defense is below par for the Rays’ expectations right now.
Speaking of expected and undetected errors, the Rays were very lucky the official scorer did not dot the scorebaord with at least 3 errors in last night’s contest. The play of the Rays infield defense last night was not in accordance to their usual stellar performance.
Third baseman Willy Aybar seemed to be playing about 15 feet farther back tonight in the game and cost the Rays at least two outs on the night. In the 3rd inning, Robinson Cano hit a liner to Aybar that he fumbled with and did not get to Carlos Pena in time for the out.
In the 4th inning, Johnny Damon got on base after a botched play by Jason Bartlett at shortstop. To give Bartlett credit, that ball did take a nasty hop in front of him, but he regained the ball in time to get Damon, but could not execute the play. The next batter, Derek Jeter got another infield single on a well hit ball hit to Aybar that did not reach Pena in time to catch Jeter. Again, Aybar was playing behind the bag at third and did not come up and attack the ball to imporve his chances of getting Jeter at first base.
In another play in the 4th inning, Carlos Pena knocked down a Jason Giambi ball and started a 3-6-2 double play. The ball reached second in time to get Alex Rodriguez, but first base umpire ruled Giambi safe at first after Rays reliever Chad Bradford apparently dragged his foot off the bag at first. This inning gave the Yankees 3 more outs to play with, and they made the Rays pay with another un to up the score to 6-1.
Lost in all the drama of the replay and miscues by the Rays defense in this game was the hitting of the Rays tonight. In the 1st inning B J Upton doubled for the first Rays’ hit of the night. Cliff Floyd then came up and hit a ball into the right center gap for a double and scored Upton to put the Rays up early 1-0. On the play, Floyd looked like he wanted to turn the play into a triple, but his knees let him know that a double would be fine. Floyd now has a team high 9 RBI’s on this homestand, all of them coming in the last 4 games. Since moving into the cleanup spot for the Rays, Floyd is hitting .308, with 2 homers, 12 RBI’s and a .590 Slugging Percentage.
Rays starter Edwin Jackson did not last 4 innings last night in the game against the Yankees. It was by far the worst showing for Jackson in 2009. Jackson actually lasted 3.1 innings for the Rays giving up 6 runs on 10 hits while throwing only 70 pitches on the night. The strike zone seemed to be squeezed for Jackson early in the game, but he produced 2 quick strikeouts in the 1st inning.
The Yankees began to get to Jackson in the 2nd inning when Robinson Cano hit the ball to Hinske in the left and scored Xavier Nady who had walked earlier in the inning. Ivan Rodriguez then hit a short popper down the first baseline that hit inside fair territory before bouncing into the foul area behind first base. Cano scored on the play, and Rodriguez was standing at seocnd with another double to put the Yankees up 2-1.
In the 3rd inning, Bobby Abreu doubled to left and was in scoring position for A-Rod when he hit his double and Abreu scored on the play. With Rodriquez at second, Jason Giambi came up and doubled to the deep left center gap that scored Rodriguez. Hideki Matsui then hit a single to center that scored Giambi and put the Yankees up 5-1.
Coming into the game, Jackson had decreased his ERA to 3.81, the lowest since May 29th. Jackson was also riuding a August that saw him go 4-1 with 2.27 ERA, it was the best ERA on the staff in August, and 6th best in the AL. Jackson needed 5 inning to match his career high of 161 innings pitches set in 2008.
Gabe Gross provided one of the games best highlights for the Rays on his 2-run homer in the 4th inning. The homer brought the Rays to within 3 runs at the moment. It was Gross’s 12th homer of the season. Dioner Navarro scored on the play after getting double to deep center to be in scoring position for Gross.
Gross is hitting .313 over his last 11 games, and hit a robust .283 for August. Gross’s 12th homer is also his career high in the majors. His previous high was 9 homers with the Brewers in 2006. Gross was not done for the night as he walked in the 9th inning on 4 pitches and then scored on Akinora Iwamuras double to left field.