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C.B. Bucknor made one of the worst calls you’ve ever seen last night


The Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves last night. Or, I should say that they beat the Atlanta Braves and home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor.

Washington had a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. The Braves mounted a little rally, though, scoring one run and then loading the bases with only one out. At that point Shawn Kelley was summoned to take over for closer Blake Treinen. It was a tough spot.

Kelley got Emilio Bonifacio to foul out and then concentrated on Chase d'Arnaud. Kelley got ahead of d’Arnaud 1-2. And then d’Arnaud . . . swung and missed! Ballgame! Right?

Nope. Because Bucknor said the swing and miss was a foul tip. Somehow. Look:

Eventually Kelley would get d’Arnaud swinging — with Bucknor actually acknowledging it — to end the game. But can you imagine what would’ve happened if d’Arnaud hit a bases-clearing and game-winning double with that new, unwarranted lease on life? It’d be a game we’d be talking about for decades. Even as it was, the Nationals gave Bucknor a well-deserved earful afterward.

This call, by the way, sort of overshadowed the fact that Bucknor’s strike zone in the game was absolutely wretched, with tons of balls in the left-handed batters box being called strikes (for more on that, check this out). That happens a lot and often it impacts both teams equally, but the Nats seemed to get the worst of that too.

Nothing is worse than that phantom foul tip call, though. That’s simply inexcusable. What in the heck was Bucknor watching?

Chris Sale exits game with hip contusion

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.

This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.