Home plate umpire Marty Foster had a tight strike zone in last night’s Phillies-Giants game. It peeved Roy Halladay a good bit. Then in the fifth inning he walked Aubrey Huff on five pitches, and ball four was one Halladay did not believe was a ball (and he was right). Then, according to Matt Gelb’s report, this happened:
Roy Halladay snatched the throw from Carlos Ruiz and didn’t flinch. His eyes were focused on Foster, the home-plate umpire, in the fifth inning of Monday’s 5-2 Phillies win over the San Francisco Giants.
Foster noticed the death stare. He said something to Halladay, who barked back. Then Halladay pointed to make his anger totally clear.
That normally kills a pitcher. But when you’re Roy Halladay, you’re the one who does the intimidating. Next batter Brandon Belt: a five-pitch strikeout with strike three looking. And strike three was nowhere near the strike zone, but the ump gave it to Halladay anyway.
After the game Halladay said that he wasn’t yelling at Foster, he was simply having a miscommunication with his catcher.
Sure he was.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.
Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.
Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.
This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.
As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.