Ho-hum: Mark Buehrle was called for two balks last night

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And you’ll never guess who the umpiring crew was. That’s right. Joe West’s crew. As you probably remember, West ejected Buehrle and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after he called the left-hander for two balks in May. He was later fined for his actions.

While West didn’t call any of the balks himself this time — first base umpire Dan Bellino called the first one and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez called the second — West was stationed at third base.

Buehrle didn’t have a tough time putting two and two together, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com.

“I don’t know. I’ve got four balks — and they’re all against this
crew,” Buehrle said. “I’ve looked at the replay, and you look at side
angles. We’ve got cameras from every angle. I stepped the same, just
like I do every time.”

Buehrle managed to stay in the game this time, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected after arguing the second balk call with Hernandez. He even had some words with West on the way out.

“I wish I was in Venezuela. I could say whatever I want,” Guillen said.
“But I’ve got to protect my players. I never thought it was a balk, but
when they called the balk you have to respect that. But this is my job,
to go there and protect them. I will do anything to protect my players.
That’s what I do best.”

I have a feeling this isn’t the last we have heard of this situation. My only regret is that we didn’t get to hear Hawk Harrelson doing the play-by-play of this game. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to settle for this amazing soundboard.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.

Video: Aaron Judge sends a baseball into the upper deck at Citi Field

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.

The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.