The umpires strike back: two more bad calls last night

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After the way the postseason has gone, everyone is watching the umpires closely, so it’s probably worth noting that they blew two calls last night.

First base ump Brian Gorman was wrong when
he called Chase Utley out at first on the double play that ended the top of
the eighth. It wasn’t Don Denkinger bad, but Utley was very clearly safe.  Not sure why neither Utley nor first base coach Davey Lopes argued the call, but maybe they’re just wise old zen masters who realize that nothing would have come of it.  Charlie Manuel wasn’t too pointed about it, but he did say the call was wrong after the game.  So too did Gorman: “On the replay it looked like there was a little bit of ball outside
[Teixeira’s] glove. It’s what we call a whacker.”

The other one, which Matthew noted in his recap, was when the ump ruled that Ryan Howard caught Johnny Damon’s liner and then doubled up Posada in the seventh. it looked like a short hop on the replay. The umps did not admit that that one was wrong after the game.

Like I said, neither of these were egregious, but after what we’ve witnessed in the past month, we’re pretty much obligated to point this stuff out.

Albert Pujols is eighth on the all-time home run list

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Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.

With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.

The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.

Nationals place Max Scherzer on 10-day disabled list with neck inflammation

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The Nationals placed right-hander Max Scherzer on the 10-day disabled list with left neck inflammation, the team announced Friday. Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres and replaced by left-hander Matt Grace, though an official roster move has yet to be made to fill his spot on the roster. The assignment is retroactive to August 15.

Scherzer experienced a similar pain on the right side of his neck at the start of the month, though this is the first official stint he’ll serve on the disabled list in 2017. While comments from club manager Dusty Baker suggest that the injury wasn’t caused by any particular trauma, it seems likely that the ace right-hander will be sidelined for at least one more start.

It’s a terrible time to lose a star pitcher, especially with the Nationals positioned to make a deep run in the postseason, but their 14-game cushion in the NL East should buy them some time while Scherzer’s on the mend. Prior to his bout of inflammation, the 33-year-old looked remarkably healthy this season. He pitched through his fifth consecutive All-Star campaign and currently boasts a 12-5 record in 24 starts, complete with a 2.25 ERA (good for second-best among qualified starters), 2.2 BB/9 and 12.3 SO/9 in 160 1/3 innings.