I’m not going to call it a blown call, since it wasn’t at all obvious live. Nevertheless, Friday’s game at Wrigley ended on a wrong call that gave the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Astros in 12 innings.
The bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the 12th at the time of the play. David Carpenter was on the mound for Houston, with Marlon Byrd hitting for the Cubs. Byrd delivered a swinging bunt down the third base line. It actually bounced right on the line before Astros third baseman Chris Johnson went to play the hop. Johnson, standing in foul territory, had the ball go off his glove, at which point the ball kicked up some chalk again.
Watching it live, it did look like a fair ball, which was the ruling from home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson. However, on slow-motion replay, the ball clearly hit the ground in foul territory while also hitting Johnson’s glove. It then kicked back into fair territory.
Byrd was awarded the hit, which scored Starlin Castro from third.
Since it was a contest involving a couple of also-rans, there won’t be a whole lot of controversy about this one. However, the game shouldn’t have ended when it did and the Astros may not have deserved their 99th loss today.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.