Baseball’s controversial plate-blocking rule strikes again

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Opponents of baseball’s new plate-blocking rule, meant to protect catchers, got another round of ammo to add to their arsenal with what went on in Philadelphia this afternoon.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Howard had drawn a two-out walk to bring up Marlon Byrd. Byrd worked the count 3-2 before skying a fly ball into shallow right-center. Second baseman Didi Gregorius ranged out for it and appeared to have it, but the ball deflected off of his glove towards shallow center. Center fielder Ender Inciarte alertly picked up the ball and fired a seed to catcher Miguel Montero, who applied an easy tag to Ryan Howard for the third out.

Only one problem: Montero didn’t give Howard a lane to the plate. The umpires reviewed the play for more than three minutes, but ultimately reversed the out call, giving the Phillies the run although Howard never ended up touching the plate.

Let the debate begin anew.

Nathan Eovaldi to start Game 3 for the Red Sox

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last night that Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros on Tuesday.

Rick Porcello was previously lined up to start that game, but he was used in relief in last night’s game. Not that Eovaldi is chopped liver. Indeed, he’s coming off seven innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks in his Game 3 start against the Yankees in the ALDS.

Houston will go with Dallas Keuchel in Game 3, followed by Charlie Morton in Game 4. That is, “unless Armageddon hits and we have a historically long game,” said A.J. Hinch yesterday.