Like many aspects in the game of baseball, questionable umpire calls can come around in YOUR favor. After a couple bad calls helped the White Sox take the first 2 games of the previous series... we seemed to get one back in the opening game of the Mariners series.
The issue is more related to how the game plays out after an umpire’s bad call, as much (if not more) than the call itself. Felix Hernandez was dealing! He had allowed only one harmless double through 4 2/3 innings. After a Ross Gload single, Hernandez threw an 0-2 pitch just off the plate. After the First Base Umpire called no swing (Buck obviously went around), the pitcher fell apart. He was visibly upset and turned his back to the umpire to hide his displeasure.
A couple of things happened as a result of that bad call. Just coming off the Disabled List, Hernandez was on a pitch count. Instead of the inning being over, he had to make more pitches to get out of the inning, shortening his outing. Then out of his frustration, he began over-throwing his pitches. Instead of making those amazing pitches… breaking off the plate as Royals batters swung and missed, Hernandez’s pitches were all over the place. Buck easily walked and Gathright actually lined a ball out of the infield! That plated the go ahead run and put runners on first and second. After a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, the Royals had MLB’s best hitter with runners in scoring position at the plate. David DeJesus smashed a line drive over Ichiro Suzuki’s head to drive in two more runs.
If Felix Hernandez would have held his composure over the “no swing” call, the game may well have turned out differently. Instead, he imploded after the bad call.
Did I say, “bad call”?
I meant good call… DAMN good call!