Another day, another official statement from MLB admitting that umpires did something wrong.
This time it’s about the weird moment in last night’s Astros-Angels game in which seemingly everyone involved except for Mike Scioscia forgot what was presumably a pretty well-known rule about a pitcher having to face at least one batter before a change can be made.
Astros manager Bo Porter tried to swap out pitchers before a batter had been faced and the umpiring crew allowed it, which led to Scioscia rightfully freaking out … and nothing happening. After the game Porter’s explanation made it very clear he didn’t understand the rule and that’s pretty shocking for a big-league manager, but of course the responsibility for making sure the rules are actually followed falls on the umpires.
MLB’s statement/press release that was just sent out says the rule regarding pitching changes was “not applied correctly” and they’re reviewing the situation further. Ultimately the Angels came back to win, so Scioscia playing the game under protest meant even less than usual, but when combined with Angel Hernandez’s botched home run replay call this has been a rough week for MLB and their umpires.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.