Bob Davidson has been among the worst umpires on the merits and one of the worst umpires in terms of temperament for years now, and he showed exactly why last night in the Cubs-Pirates game.
Tyler Colvin was called out on strikes by Davidson to end the fifth inning. It was a bad call, but that’s beside the point. Colvin reacted, but he didn’t look at Davidson or walk towards him or anything. His reaction, while sure, likely largely influenced by anger at the call, could have just as easily been construed as anger at himself. Importantly, he didn’t linger at home plate. He turned around and headed back to the dugout.
Except Davidson followed him. Obnoxiously trying to pick a fight. When he didn’t get the fight he obviously wanted, he ejected Colvin.
Then Mike Quade came out and argued the ejection. He wasn’t arguing the called strike. He wasn’t animated. He wasn’t being obnoxious. Watching the video it is clear that he was only trying to protect his player and make a calm case. Davidson, after hearing it for a while turned his back on Quade, shrugged his shoulders dismissively and then ejected Quade.
Umpires should be in the business of giving players the benefit of the doubt in such situations. Let them be angry, but unless they are clearly out of line, let them be. Same with managers. If Davidson had simply stood his ground and let Colvin walk back to the dugout, none of that would have happened and the game would have gone on. Except Davidson has the thinnest skin and the worst disposition and temperament of any umpire in baseball and his ego couldn’t let it go.
He should not have his job. There are dozens who could do it better on the merits and scores who could do it with greater professionalism. He’s a disgrace to good umpires everywhere and a disgrace to Major League Baseball. His continued employment makes a mockery of baseball’s oversight of officiating.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.