Author: Matthew Pouliot


When instant replay wrongs a right


With the score tied at 5 in the eighth inning of Sunday’s Cardinals-Reds game, Yadier Molina dropped down a sac bunt with runners on first and second and none out. It was a bad bunt and Molina was slow getting out of the box. Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco picked up the ball and attempted to tag Molina without getting the call. No problem. Mesoraco simply threw to third for the force, and Todd Frazier was able to convert the double play by throwing to first.

That should have been the end of things. Except for one very important fact: Mesoraco did, in fact, tag Molina on the play.

The Cardinals saw the tag on replay, and Mike Matheny came out to challenge the call. Replay determined that Kerwin Danley blew it when he signaled that no tag was made. Unfortunately, at this point, Danley and crew chief Joe West decided that this meant Peter Bourjos was safe at third base, giving the Cardinals runners on second and third with one out in the frame.

That was totally the wrong outcome. Had Frazier known the tag was made on Molina and there was no force at third base, he would have been in position to make the tag on Bourjos at third base, completing the double play. It’s not 100 percent sure that he would have gotten the tag down, but it was clearly better than 50-50.

The crew is given discretion in cases like these to determine what should have happened. Being that it was a Joe West crew, it’s not much of a surprise that the decision turned out wrong. At least the Cardinals failed to capitalize, with Kolten Wong and Matt Adams popping up to end the inning and keep the game tied.

Still, if you ask me, plays like this are another reason that managers should not be involved in the replay process. I don’t want managers looking for technicalities in order to steal or revoke outs. This was basically a loophole that Matheny crawled through; the defense earned this double play, only to be stripped of it by Danley’s bad call. The very thing replay was designed to overcome was used against it here.

Red Sox outlast Yankees in 19 innings

Pablo Sandoval

The Red Sox scored in the 16th and 18th innings, but it wasn’t enough. It took them 19 innings and over seven hours to finally finish off the Yankees on Friday night, winning 6-5 after a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly.

While the game ended more than seven hours after it started, technically, it lasted 6:49; there was a 16-minute delay after a lighting stand went out in the 10th. By time of game, it was the longest contest in Red Sox history and second longest for the Yankees.

By number of innings, it was the second longest Red Sox-Yankees marathon. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-3 in 20 innings on Aug. 29, 1967. Amazingly enough, that was the second game of a doubleheader.

Tonight’s game featured the Red Sox jumping out to a 3-0 lead against starter Nathan Eovaldi. The Yankees rallied for two in the bottom of the sixth, and then tied it in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth, when Chase Headley homered off Boston’s fill-in closer, Edward Mujica, with two outs in the frame.

That was it for the scoring until David Ortiz homered off Esmil Rogers in the 16th. The Yankees responded when Mark Teixeira took knuckleballer Steven Wright deep in the bottom of the inning.

In the 18th, Pablo Sandoval singled in Dustin Pedroia to make it a 5-4 game. Carlos Beltran then doubled in pinch-runner John Ryan Murphy to tie it back up.

Wright was the winner despite blowing the two leads. He pitched five innings, allowing two runs. He’ll now be sent down to make room for Saturday’s starter, Joe Kelly.

Rogers was offered up as a sacrifice by the Yankees. He threw 35 pitches Thursday, and the team would have preferred to stay away from him entirely tonight. In fact, manager Joe Girardi let Chasen Shreve throw 3 1/3 innings — his long outing since Double-A — before turning to Rogers in the 14th. Rogers went on to pitch 4 2/3 innings and throw 81 pitches. He can’t be optioned out, so the Yankees might well find a reason to put him on the DL before Saturday’s game. After 116 pitches in two days, they probably won’t have to look very hard.

On the offensive side, Pablo Sandoval and Xander Bogaerts had four-hit games for Boston. All four of Bogaerts’ hits came in extras. Mike Napoli, meanwhile, went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. The Yankees had no one with more than two hits. Carlos Beltran and Didi Gregorius both went 1-for-6 in the contest, even though neither started.

Sonny Gray loses no-hitter, but A’s finally snap Opening Day skid

Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray gave up an 0-2 single to right to Ryan Rua to snap his no-hitter in the eighth inning of Monday’s game against the Rangers.

Gray, aiming for just the second Opening Day no-no in MLB history, had thrown 83 pitches through seven innings, allowing just two batters to reach. One came on an HBP, while the other reached on a Ben Zobrist error.

After Rua’ s single, Gray got a line-drive double play and a groundout to finish the eighth at 98 pitches. He exited, and the A’s went on to win the game 8-0.

Zobrist, more than making up for his error, had a two-run homer and a double in his A’s debut.

Cleveland’s Bob Feller pitched the lone Opening Day no-hitter in MLB history in 1940 against the White Sox.

For the A’s, it was the first Opening Day victory in 11 years. Even with all of their regular-season success, they had lost 10 straight openers dating back to 2005, and they were shut out in the last two. Their previous Opening Day victory in 2004 was also against the Rangers.