Saturday, April 26, 2008

Did You See That? Good, Because The Umpires Didn’t!

The Cleveland Indians toughed out a dramatic win from the New York Yankees this afternoon at Progressive Field. Scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the second inning, LHP Jeremy Sowers flirted with disaster often but managed to keep the Yankees scoreless until the top of the sixth inning when he loaded the bases. He gave way to reliever Jensen Lewis who gave up a game-tying triple to Jorge Posada who was pinch hitting for Jose Molina.
The advantages of replay were not available to sort out a couple of calls that went wrong.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Franklin Gutierrez came to the plate with runners on 1st and second and no outs. His mission was obvious, bunt the runners into scoring position. As he squared around to bunt, he made contact with the ball, the ball glanced off of the bat, hit Gutierrez in the left shin, and rolled into fair territory. He was thrown out at 1st and the job was done but in reality the runners should have been returned to 1st and 2nd with Gutierrez receiving a strike call on the play. The 4 umpires met to discuss the play and decided to let it stand. Casey Blake smashes a line drive to 3rd baseman Ensberg who beat Jhonny Peralta back to the bag for an inning-ending double play.

In the 8th inning, Victor Martinez was apparently forced out at second base but the replay showed that he apparently was not out. On a ground ball to shortstop Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano (now playing 2nd base) bobbled the ball from Jeter and failed to have control as Victor slid into the bag. Indians’ manager Eric Wedge was livid over the call, was tossed by umpire Derryl Cousins, and then proceeded to get his money’s worth of the ejection and the blown calls.
After reliever Masa Kobayashi induced a top of the ninth inning-ending double play, the Indians were not to be denied the victory that they earned. After Casey Blake went down swinging, Grady Sizemore singled and David Dellucci advanced Grady to second with a single. As Grady looked to right field to determine if he should try for 3rd base, he jammed his left ankle on 2nd base and a collective crowd gasped as he came up limping. After testing the ankle with coaches and trainer, Grady, favoring the ankle was caught by the camera telling the coaches in no uncertain terms, “I’ll play!”
With lefty Travis Hafner at the plate facing righty Ross Olendorf, Jorge Posada let a ball pass and the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Hafner was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play with one out.
Up to the plate walks Victor Martinez who could be seen shaking his head “yes” repeatedly and telling himself what he needed to do while banging his right fist on the side of his batting helmet. Everyone knew their part; Grady on 3rd would go home on the ground or tag and score on a fly. Dellucci on 2nd had to get to 3rd base safely. Hafner had to take out the pivot man at 2nd base on a ground ball. Victor had to lift the ball or hit safely to score Sizemore. With a 1-1 count, Victor appeared “locked in” as he hit an opposite field line drive to win the game!
So the Indians win a season high 5 games in a row by beating the Yankees 4-3.

I hope you saw the game. If you didn’t, you can join the umpire crew and see the replay to see what everyone missed!

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