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?
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Mets will place outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Cespedes left Thursday’s game after suffering the injury running the bases.
Things keep going poorly for the Mets, who are in last place in the NL East with an 8-13 record. Cespedes will join a lengthy list of names in the infirmary, including David Wright, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Noah Syndergaard.
Cespedes is batting a very productive .270/.373/.619 with six home runs and 10 RBI through his first 75 plate appearances.
With Cespedes out, Michael Conforto should be cemented as an everyday player and Juan Lagares will handle center field with Granderson moving back to right field and Jay Bruce covering first base.