Umpire Assignments ALDS Game 1, MIN@NYY 6:37pm at Yankee Stadium:
HP: Tim Tschida (Crew Chief), 1B: Chuck Meriwether, 2B: Mark Wegner, 3B: Paul Emmel, LF: Jim Joyce, RF: Phil Cuzzi.
CC Sabathia (NYY-P) lost a strike call on a 2-2 pitch to Orlando Cabrera (MIN-SS), opening a stream of 2-out baserunners. Cabrera advanced to 3rd on Joe Mauer’s (Joe Mauer-MIN-C) 4-pitch double and then scored on Michael Cuddyer’s (MIN-1B) single on the first pitch he saw. Mauer subsequently scored on Jorge Posada’s (NYY-C) second passed ball of the game – during Jason Kubel’s (MIN-RF) 5-pitch at-bat, which ended in a strikeout. This put the Yankees behind 2-0 in a game that they were widely favored to win. (The opposition played on little sleep after arriving in New York at 3.30am following a nail-biting 12-inning win over Detroit night for the right to fly into New York.)
The color commentator for WCBS Radio, Suzyn Waldman, at first seemed to chastise Sabathia for his evident disappointment at losing the strikeout, because he had already tried that pitch and failed to get the call. On review, however, Waldman said she could see why Sabathia – and the 50,000 in the stands – felt robbed. Characteristically disinclined to stir controversy, her partner, play-by-play man John Sterling, noncommittally stated that it looked very close.
Effect: Instead of getting out of the inning unscathed, Sabathia was hit-up for 2 runs and threw 11extra pitches – equivalent to a short inning – on a night when his pitch count was already running high with 4 strikeouts before the 3rd inning ended, and starting with Denard Span’s (MIN-CF) game-opening 7-pitch double. The Yankees failed to score first, losing the psychological advantage and comfort zone for their starter, and, significantly, they were facing a pitcher who, albeit inexperienced, was unknown to them, exactly the type of pitcher to stymie Yankee bats since late in the Joe Torre era, if I remember correctly. But Derek Jeter (NYY-SS) immediately pulled a HR to left (very unusual for him), scoring 2, and removing Sabathia’s deficit. In the 4th, Nick Swisher (NYY-RF) doubled-in Robinson Cano (NYY-2B), earning the lead for the Yankees, who held onto it and in fact built on it through the 7th inning. Sabathia was able to pitch through most of the 7th with no further scoring by Minnesota, having earned just the 1 run. (Minnesota’s second run was unearned, because it came in on a passed ball.) Joe Girardi (NYY-Manager) said Sabathia’s performance lived up to expectations, despite the effects of some miscommunication between the pitcher and catcher. Sabathia, who threw 113 pitches through 2 outs in the 7th, appeared to have shaken off any lingering effects of the questionable call after the 3rd inning and pitched a strong game, backed by consistent offense, despite commanding less than his very best , as he said himself.
NLDS- COL@PHI Wed 10.7.2009 2:37pm at Citizens Bank Park:
Gerry Davis (Crew Chief), Bob Davidson, Jerry Meals, Ron Kulpa, Angel Hernandez, Tim Timmons
NLDS- STL@LAD Wed 10.7.2009 10:07pm at Dodger Stadium:
Dana DeMuth (Crew Chief), Brian O’Nora, Mike Everitt, Jeff Nelson, Ed Rapuano, Tony Randazzo
ALDS- MIN@NYY Wed 10.7.2009 6:07pm at Yankee Stadium:
Tim Tschida (Crew Chief), Chuck Meriwether, Mark Wegner, Paul Emmel, Jim Joyce, Phil Cuzzi
ALDS- BOS@LAA Thur 10.8.2009 9:37pm at Angel Stadium:
Joe West (Crew Chief), C.B. Bucknor, Eric Cooper, Greg Gibson, Brian Gorman, Dan Lassogna
Experience of Crew Chiefs, in years:
Gerry Davis- 24, Dana Demuth- 26, Tim Tschida- 24, Joe West- 32
Source: ALDS, NLDS Umpire Crews Announced (by Mark Sheldon / MLB.com. Published 10/05/09 3:30 PM ET)
Umpire Crew, NLDS Game 1 COL vs PHI, Wed. 10-7-09 2:07pm at Citizens Bank Park:
Umpires: HP: Gerry Davis (Crew Chief), 1B: Bob Davidson, 2B: Jerry Meals, 3B: Ron Kulpa, LF: Angel Hernandez, RF: Tim Timmons
3B umpire Ron Culpa called-out Yorvit Torrealba (COL-C) on Jason Werth’s (PHI-RF) strong throw to Pedro Feliz (PHI-3B), ending the inning. TBS broadcasters said Torrealba, who had tagged-up at second on Clint Barmes’ (COL-2B) flyout, beat the tag.
Effect: Possible run scored + more pitches thrown by starter Cliff Lee (PHI-P).
With 2 outs and Torrealba at 3rd, Ubaldo Jimenez (COL-P), #9 hitter, would have needed to knock-in Torrealba or, more likely, coax a walk out of Cliff Lee (PHI-P) to bring up the leadoff batter Dexter Fowler (COL-CF), a switch-hitter who batted .500 off Lee in 4 at-bats against him this season.
2B umpire ___ ruled that Cliff Lee (PHI-P) was back safe at 2B after Ubaldo Jimenez’s (COL-P) pickoff throw. (Lee had just stolen 2nd and taken a lead toward 3rd.) Jimenez had Lee picked-off at 2nd, according to TBS broadcasters, who said he ran into the tag.
Effect: 1 extra pitch thrown by Jimenez to Jimmy Rollins (PHI-SS) for the strikeout and 3rd out.
Of course, fans will wonder about the psychological effects of 2 bad calls favoring a home team in consecutive early innings. Did the Rockies lose momentum when Torrealba was wrongly called out at 3rd to end the 2nd inning just 90 feet from home? Were the Phillies energized by what looked to some like home field favoritism? Escaping the embarrassing 3rd out that he should have incurred by taking too big a lead during slugger Rollins’ at bat, and right on the heels of a successful steal – rarely attempted by a pitcher – was Lee able to ride an endorphin rush through 9 innings to his near-shutout of the Rockies? Because their pitcher was due up next for the Rockies with 2 outs in the 2nd, and because Rollins was down 2 strikes with 2 outs in the 3rd, I hesitate to draw this conclusion. But Lee did establish control of his game to dominate for remaining innings, whereas Jimenez began losing hold of his in the 5th before leaving in the 6th, and his offense could not pick him up to score against Lee until the 9th.
Petitte vs Wakefield
Plate umpire Jim Reynolds called Petitte’s 1st inning 3-1 pitch to #3 batter “Big Papi” Ortiz a ball, though Sterling says it had the plate and was belt high. Hmm, this after Petitte struck out Ellsbury and Pedroia. On review of the video Waldman said it was off the plate by 3″ and sets the boundaries for the strike zone. Next batter Kevin Youkilis — batting in Manny’s former slot — walked, too. Let’s see how tonight goes….
(For the sake of narrative satisfaction I should add that Bay popped out.)
At the very top of the 2nd — with the score at 1-0 courtesy of Damon’s HR off his former-countryman Wakefield — Sterling noted that Petitte’s 2-1 pitch was called a ball in a rather tight zone against Lowrie. (By the way, neither Sterling nor Waldman saw Reynolds call the final strike against A-Rod at the bottom of the 1st.) And now, for the second straight inning, here’s another 2-on, 2-out situation for Pettite, who had shut down the first 2 at-bats in the inning before letting 2 swinging bunts from the bottom of Boston’s line-up get on base and the first – Bailey – score on Ellsbury’s subsequent single. Score: 1-1….
As the Yankees were going ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd, a quietly enchanting astronaut who had phoned Sterling from the Space Station was that rarest of persopnages, a perfect guest, so engaging, and speaking in thoughts that seemed too natural to be timed to fit between the pitches Sterling had to call, but they did. I dislike having my game interrupted by guests who come on during games, and thankfully Sterling and Waldman welcome few. But this gentleman, who threw out tonight’s first pitch, was a pleasure.
Note: Top of the 4th (3-2 Boston): As Girardi and Petitte confer on the mound, Sterling conjectures that they are discussing Petitte’s strike zone being squeezed by Reynolds. Sure enough, next they invite Reynolds to the mound, where, as Sterling tells it, Girardi is taking care not to get thrown out for arguing balls and strikes, speaking loudly but facing no one in particular. After the confab, Petitte strikes out the batter and speaks to the umpire on his way off the field. Sterling was right on top of this from the 1st.
Note: Top of the 5th (3-2 Boston): Sterling observes that 1st base umpire FIelding Culbreth missed Giambi’s tag-out (of Crisp?), putting-on an extra Boston runner. Subsequently, Bailey wasn’t called for interfering with catcher Molina on the basepath, and Sterling asks if Waldman or Feinsand recalls which umpire called that very out against the Yankees at which park on their recent road trip. Nada. After reviewing a play at 3rd on video between innings, Sterling discovered that A-Rod’s tag beat another runner’s [Lowrie’s?] slide.
So, what would the score be at the end the 5th if accurate calls were being made? Not 6-2 Yanks, even discounting any squeezing of Petitte’s strike zone by Reynolds.
Top of the 6th (6-3 Boston): Here we go again. Molina thought Bruney’s last pitch to Pedroia was a strike, and Girardi comes out to talk to Reynolds again. No reversal. Waldman, mentioning a talk she’d once had with Mussina, speculates that the concern is that Reynolds is not being consistent on his calls on the same pitch. (Mussina had told Waldman that pitchers can get used to a unique strike zone as long as the umpire is consistent.) Bruney walks 3 men in a row. (7-3 Boston)
6 walks by Yankee pitching in 6 innings.
The calling of Yankee pitches is very much an issue in this game, as are at least 2 safe calls, made at 1st and 3rd.
It makes perfect sense. Peace in the Middle East may be within sight. A US Ambassador to Israel retires to become Israel’s Baseball Commissioner! First task : Raise funds for a Palestinian Baseball League. Be fruitful and multiply, right? That’s what I would do. Diplomacy, manners, the significance of small symbolic gestures — these constitute the language of the game.
However, I’d feel more confident about the survival of Israeli baseball – and any peace our great sport can broker – if Dan Kurtzner hadn’t been Ambassador during the second Bush administration. Not exactly the peace that passeth understanding. Then again, maybe he kept it from getting much, much worse.
World Series? Feh. How about the 7-Day War? And it will be played every year, so there’s no "winner." There’s some revisionist history for you. Hey, that’s even better than Yankees vs. Red Sox. (Hmm, Varitek vs. A-Rod, Pedro vs. Zimmer. That’s hard to beat.)
I shouldn’t make light of 2 unwanted peoples’ fight for safe borders. Seriously, if any sport can bring people together in a temporary symbolic oasis in the desert, it is baseball. Maybe Mr. Kurtzner can make this more than a field of dreams.
Here a couple tips for you, Commish: National League rules – we can’t have pitchers throwing at batters’ heads with impunity. (Look how many brawls Pedro and Clemens avoided with the Mets and Astros.) And NO MLB UMPIRES!
Yesterday, June 23, both Yankee radio broadcasters spoke with uncharacteristic candor about the egregious errors made by umpires throughout this season. The context? To the credit of Jon Sterling and Suzyn Waldman — the respective play-by-play and color voices of WCBS radio — their anger (for it amounted to anger) was sparked by an umpire error that benefited the Yankees.
Wow. What a Weekend. Well, at least it’s the Right Sox tonight. A breather, even if they do win, which is how it’s looking right now. Roger the Rocket looked pretty fat at Pinstripes on the Park last Thursday. Hate to but I must tell you that the audience — just like at the Stadium the Saturday prior — was definitely not swayed by his charms or promise. His promises, on the other hand, were inspiring. He said we’d take the Series this weekend, and we did. We could use a cheerleader from Texas. One who’s on OUR payroll.
I hear from Floraine Kay that we might take Runyldys Hernandez off the hands of the Red Sox. We might have saved some money and the risk of a double agent (ala Ramiro Mendoza working for us in in their clubhouse in 2003 — and then back with us in the minors last year — where is he now?) had someone LISTENED TO ME and bought him straight from Kansas City. It’s hardly a secret that I have a soft spot for oversized lefties like David Wells (San Diego — HELLO, anybody LISTENING?), CC Sabathia (Cleveland), and, yes, Runyldys, who definitely needed some guidance while he was with the Royals. It will be interesting to see where he is.
So we need a fielder who doesn’t have to hit, eh? Um, anybody look at our bench? MIGUEL CAIRO? And, does anyone remember that he makes things happen? Why hasn’t he been working? He worked in April during some shortages, then NOTHING. Even a DH needs SOME time on the field, and he is a good fielder when he gets a chance to play.
Besides Miggy, there’s Super Joe McEwing, former Met, beloved by fans in Kansas City, and now somewhere else, I will have to check. I loved watching him field. Like David Dellucci as a Yankee, Super Joe was everywhere before you knew where to look. Then, there’s Jeff Keppinger, another former Met, though he may have found a home, as I know Ty Wigginton has as a Devil Ray. Wiggington is a bat more than a fielder, anyway. I’ll always remember the story Floraine told me about how, when he was playing 3rd base for the Mets, knowing he was prone to errors, he wrote E-5 on the inside of his visor.
More on umpires, especially regarding this last weekend, to come.