Indians Edge A’s Amid Controversy

Well that’s one way to end a baseball game. Forget about the score,the performance by Justin Masterson, or the fact that the Indians belted two more home runs on the night. Last night’s game will be remembered as the night that umpire Angel Hernandez made one of the most mind-boggling decisions in recent baseball memory.

Let us first set the scene.

The Indians came into last night’s game having won eight of their past ten games with Justin Masterson taking the hill against A.J. Griffin. On paper, the game certainly favored Masterson and the Tribe, but things wouldn’t come easy.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians fell behind the A’s 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning. Singles from Seth Smith and Jed Lowrie got the A’s in business. After getting Yoenis Cespedes to hit into a fielder’s choice, Brandon Moss delivered with an RBI single to right field. Two batters later, following a wild pitch to advance the runners into scoring position, Daric Barton delivered with a two-run single.

Unfortunately for the A’s, that’s all they would get off of the big righty. Masterson threw 7 solid innings, allowing only those 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 7 and only walking 2. With the win, he pushed his record on the year to 5-2 while continuing to prove himself as the ace of the Indians pitching staff.

Meanwhile, the Indians scored their runs in back to back innings during the fifth and sixth.  With the bases loaded and only one out in the fifth, Michael Brantley grounded into a fielder’s choice to second. While attempting to turn the double play, A’s shortstop Adam Rosales threw the ball away allowing both Ryan Raburn and Lonnie Chisenhall to score on the play.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Indians decided to attack in a manner we have grown used to. First, Nick Swisher drilled a solo homer to right center to tie things up at three apiece. Then two batters later, Carlos Santana struck with a majestic home run to straight away center field to give the Indians a 4-3 lead.

Things would continue relatively drama free, that is until the top of the ninth inning.

Looking to close the game out and pick up his fifth save of the season, Chris Perez entered the game in relief of Joe Smith. After striking out Josh Donaldson and getting Daric Barton to ground out, Adam Rosales “doubled” to left center. I say “doubled” because the ball clearly hit the railing above the yellow line on the outfield wall and should have been the game tying home run. It was apparent to everyone and even more apparent in the replays. You can see in the screen shot below where the ball hit the railing and where that was in relation to the yellow line.

Screen Capture: MLB.tv

That is, to everyone but the umpires. After reviewing the video at the request of A’s manager Bob Melvin, crew chief Angel Hernandez signaled a double. Bob Melvin immediately lost his marbles, but not before getting his money’s worth with Hernandez. Perez than proceeded to load the bases and make things more interesting than they needed to be before retiring Seth Smith to end the game.

Thanks to the mind-boggling decision by last night’s umpires, the Indians will go for the four game series sweep tomorrow afternoon when Scott Kazmir faces off against for Indian ace Bartolo Colon. First pitch is at 12:05.


Source: FanGraphs

The Good: The Indians’ resiliency. They got down early, but they found a way to battle back and eventually win the game. Last season, this is a game that would have spiraled out of control after the fourth inning. But again, like all of us here on Wahoo’s on FIrst have been saying for quite some time now, this is a different and much improved team from the one we watched a year ago.

The Bad: Chris Perez’s ninth inning performance. After getting the first two outs of the inning, the game should have ended without much fanfare. Unfortunately, following the home run that never was and the subsequent umpire review, Perez wasn’t the same. He loaded the bases and caused everyone to start popping blood pressure medicine. He got out of the jam, which is all that really matters, but it wasn’t exactly relaxing.

The “Huh?”: Obviously, it’s the blown call by the umpiring crew. It was painfully obvious that the ball hit the railing. What replays were they watching that led them to believe that double was the correct call? One thing is for sure, all this is going to do is further fuel the fire for the debate concerning instant replay in baseball.

Topics: Angel Hernandez, Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians, Justin Masterson, Nick Swisher, Oakland Athletics

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