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.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.