I’m not going to call it a blown call, since it wasn’t at all obvious live. Nevertheless, Friday’s game at Wrigley ended on a wrong call that gave the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Astros in 12 innings.
The bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the 12th at the time of the play. David Carpenter was on the mound for Houston, with Marlon Byrd hitting for the Cubs. Byrd delivered a swinging bunt down the third base line. It actually bounced right on the line before Astros third baseman Chris Johnson went to play the hop. Johnson, standing in foul territory, had the ball go off his glove, at which point the ball kicked up some chalk again.
Watching it live, it did look like a fair ball, which was the ruling from home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson. However, on slow-motion replay, the ball clearly hit the ground in foul territory while also hitting Johnson’s glove. It then kicked back into fair territory.
Byrd was awarded the hit, which scored Starlin Castro from third.
Since it was a contest involving a couple of also-rans, there won’t be a whole lot of controversy about this one. However, the game shouldn’t have ended when it did and the Astros may not have deserved their 99th loss today.
The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.
It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.
Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).”
Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.
Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.