Andres Torres had a leadoff double erased on appeal to start the top of the ninth Monday as the Cardinals edged the Mets 5-4.
First-base umpire David Rackley ruled that that Torres did not touch the bag as he rounded it on his way to second base, giving the Cardinals a big out in a one-run game. Replays weren’t conclusive, but it did appear as though Torres caught the corner on the way by. Torres didn’t argue the call afterwards, but he said after the game that he “definitely” touched the bag.
Here’s the video.
After the call, Cardinals closer Jason Motte struck out Ronny Cedeno, walked Ruben Tejada and got Daniel Murphy to fly out to end the game. The win ensured that the Cardinals would stay ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card standings. They’re one game ahead of Los Angeles for the second wild card, with the Dodgers hosting the Padres tonight.
As for Rackley’s call, he must have been awfully sure in his mind, even though it’s hard to see how he could have been. Umpires have to make most of their tough calls an instant after the play happens. However, in this case, Rackley had plenty of time to think about it, given that the out was only called after the play was over and the Cardinals made the appeal to first.
The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.
After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.
But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.
- They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
- They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
- They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
- They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.
The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.
Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.