The Red Sox were absolutely dominant last night, blowing out the Cardinals 8-1 in game 1 of the World Series. But none of that may have happened had the umpiring crew not come together in the first inning to overturn what was obviously an incorrect call.
With runners on first and second and one out, Boston’s David Ortiz hit a routine ground ball to second baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter fielded the bouncer cleanly and flipped it to Pete Kozma who was covering second – a feed that should have led to an easy inning-ending double play.
But Kozma never caught the ball. It never even entered his glove, instead grazing off the end of the pocket webbing and falling to the dirt. Infield umpire Dana DeMouth, however, called an out at second, indicating that he thought that Kozma lost the ball trying to make a transition from glove to throwing hand to turn two.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was out of the dugout immediately to argue the call, asking the umpiring to confer and at least discuss what they had seen.
To their credit, the crew did. And apparently the five other crew members saw the play differently from DeMouth. The call was overturned, and the runner was placed back on second base.
That created a bases-loaded opportunity for Mike Napoli, who cashed in with a 3-run double that changed the entire complexion of the game.
The early cushion took all of the early World Series pressure off of the American Leaguers. It allowed Boston starter Jon Lester to pitch aggressively, and gave the lineup confidence against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright,
who coming into the night had been near unhittable in big games.
Of course, the reversal didn’t sit well with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, which gave rise to an on-field argument and a post-game complaint session (another display of what has become, in my mind, the REAL Cardinal Way).
“That’s not a play I’ve ever seen before, and I’m pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either,” Matheny said. “It’s a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call; I get that. Tough one to swallow.”
For all the grievances that have been aired over missed calls, it’s amazing to me that Matheny would have the gall to complain about the umpires getting an obviously blown call right. Especially while admitting the call was correct.
I give kudos to the crew for coming together to make sure the game was decided by the players’ performances on the field. The Red Sox feasted on Wainwright, Lester was brilliant and the Cardinals sloppily committed three errors, so this one SHOULD have been a blowout. But it may not have been without the reversal.
That should be acknowledged and appreciated.