An interesting situation arose in the top of the eighth inning in Friday night’s game at Fenway Park between the Astros and the Red Sox. The Astros were trailing 3-2 in the eighth but were threatening with runners on first and second with two outs and Matt Dominguez at the plate against reliever Burke Badenhop.
Dominguez hit a weak line drive to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who fielded it on one hop and fed second baseman Dustin Pedroia an underhand toss. Dexter Fowler slid in about the same time the ball went into Pedroia’s glove, and second base umpire Pat Hoberg ruled Fowler safe. Pedroia then fired to catcher Christian Vazquez as pinch-runner Gregorio Petit was on his way home. Vazquez, for some reason, took the throw several steps in front of home plate before trying to run Petit down. Petit juked Vazquez and dashed home towards the back of the plate. Vazquez passed the ball to Badenhop covering home, and Petit juked him, too, reaching down and touching the plate with his right hand. Petit was ruled safe as well by home plate umpire Cory Blaser.
Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to challenge the call at second (which, if overturned, would invalidate the play at home plate as there would then be three outs), but after a lengthy review, the call at second was upheld and thus the call at home plate was as well.
The official scoring is a fielder’s choice with the run scoring on Vazquez’s error — no RBI for Dominguez.
The Astros eventually overcame the Red Sox, winning 5-3 in 10 innings. Marisnick knocked in a pair of runs with a double in the top of the 10th and Tony Sipp closed out the bottom half of the inning for the win.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.