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UPDATE: MLB determines the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose

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UPDATE: Major League Baseball has just released a statement, saying it has determined that the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose on Wednesday:

“MLB takes seriously the safety of on-field personnel — players, coaches and umpires alike — and has thoroughly reviewed the incident. Upon completion of that review, Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has concluded that no Tigers player intended for the pitch to hit Umpire Wolcott, and therefor no discipline will be issued.”

10:36 AM: On Wednesday afternoon, during the Tigers-Indians game, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected Tigers catcher James McCann and then ejected manager Brad Ausmus over their arguing of balls and strikes. At one point the argument got a bit pointed, with Ausmus suggesting that Wolcott was caught up in the Indians winning streak and giving them preferable calls. That’s gonna earn you your ejection, obviously.

With McCann gone, backup catcher James Hicks came into the game.  A few pitches later, a Buck Farmer pitch sailed on Hicks, he missed it entirely and it hit Wolcott, shaking him up. While a few people — including analyst Dallas Braden — speculated online that maybe Hicks let the ball get through in order to intentionally hit Wolcott, Ausmus dismissed that as “ridiculous.” For my part, it just seemed like a pitch with an unusual amount of action on it, missed by a catcher who was unexpectedly inserted into the game moments before. An accident.

The Associated Press is reporting this morning, however, that Major League Baseball is investigating the matter, in an effort to determine if it was, in fact, intentional. I suspect this is being done at the instigation of Wolcott or the umpire’s union because, as the AP reports, as he was being examined by a trainer, he said “They didn’t do it on purpose, did they?”

Judge for yourself here:

 

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.