The White Sox beat the Blue Jays last night thanks to a late Jose Abreu home run. Earlier, though, in the top of the fifth, a super weird play went down that, while not greatly affecting the outcome, was pretty much the play of the game. At least for conversation purposes.
With the score tied 1-1, Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez loaded the bases with one out. Yoan Moncada of the White Sox hit a ball to the wall in left field. Curtis Granderson leapt to catch it. The ball bounced off his glove and flew into the air. Granderson landed on the ground on his back and the ball landed on his chest. He grabbed it before it hit the ground. Umpire Jordan Baker, running toward Granderson as the play developed, called it an out.
White Sox catcher Wellington Castillo had been on third base. He broke for home when he saw the ball bounce, but did not see Granderson ultimately catch it. Before he could cross home plate, he realized what happened and scurried back to third base to beat the relay throw trying to double him off. If the play had ended there, it’d be a big screwup by Castillo, who could have and should have waited for the play to fully develop, given that Granderson was so far away from the plate that even if Castillo had waited a second or two to tag up and run.
Except the play didn’t end there. Well, the active part of it did. The RE-play, however, then began. It dragged on a long time, but ultimately the replay officials determined that the ball had hit the wall before Granderson’s juggling act began, meaning that it was a live ball. Since the play had been stopped by umpire Baker, replay officials had to use their judgment to place the runners. They gave Moncada a hit and awarded Castillo home. All of which seems about right. Can’t really fault Baker either, because in real time that sure looked like a catch.
Anyway, if you can stomach seven minutes worth of replay delays, there’s the highlight. Everything that matters happens in the first minute or so though:
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.