Erick Aybar and the Angels denied a double play thanks to a heads-up call by the ump

27 Comments

Uncommon play in Los Angeles last night.

In the sixth inning, with a runner on first and one out, Andre Ethier hit a line drive to Angels shortstop Erick Aybar. Aybar dropped the ball, but had the presence of mind to pick it up, step on second base and throw it to first for the double play.  Or so he wanted everyone to believe.

Second-base umpire Sam Holbrook ruled that Aybar intentionally dropped the ball in order to start the double play. He called Ethier out but baserunner Juan Rivera back to first base.  It got a little dicey after that as C.J. Wilson walked the next two batters, but then James Loney flied out to end the inning.

This, by the way, is not the infield fly rule. That doesn’t apply simply when a runner is at first, there has to be runners at first and second or the bases have to be loaded. Rather, this is Rule 6.05 which defines when a batter is out. Specifically, subsection (l) says a batter is out when…

An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases.

Good call by Holbrook. I can’t remember this happening very often, and I’d be skeptical if it does, in fact, come up very often. Given all the flak we give umpires these days, it’s probably worth remembering from time to time that they have a LOT of things to think about in a game.

Mariners lose on walk-off wild pitch

Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images
Leave a comment

2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.

Entering the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners trailed the Rays 5-3, but a solo homer by Daniel Vogelbach and a two-run triple by Mallex Smith sent them into the bottom half of the ninth leading 6-5. Manager Scott Servais sent Matt Magill — acquired from the Twins exactly one month ago — to the mound to close out the game.

Kevin Kiermaier greeted Magill rudely, starting the inning by swatting a game-tying solo home run to center field. Magill would then allow a single to Willy Adames and a double to Michael Brosseau before intentionally walking Ji-Man Choi to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Pham worked the count to 1-2 when Magill spiked a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Omar Narváez had little hope of corralling. The ball skipped away and the Rays walked off 7-6 winners on a wild pitch, a very on-brand sentence for the 2019 Mariners.