MLB

Umps did right thing reversing call

Mike Matheny
Cards manager Mike Matheny argues with John Hirschbeck after first-inning reversal.
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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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BOSTON

Three thoughts on the Boston Red Sox’s 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series:

I get Mike Matheny’s point. You rarely see reversals on calls such as the Cardinals’ attempted force at second base in the first inning. And if anyone can remember the last time it happened in a World Series game, raise your hand.

If I were the Cardinals' manager, I would have argued just as forcefully as he did after the umpires met and overturned Dana DeMuth’s mistaken out call on a throw that St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma failed to control from second baseman Matt Carpenter.

No matter. The umpires got it right. They deserve credit for getting it right. And while the reversal changed the complexion of the game, the alternative — allowing a botched call to stand — would have been far worse.

Not that Matheny wanted to hear it.

The Red Sox’s Mike Napoli, batting with the bases loaded and one out rather than first and third and two outs, followed the overturned call with a three-run double, and the Cardinals never recovered.

“That’s not a (reversal) I've ever seen before,” Matheny said. “And I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either. It's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get trying to get the right call, I get that. Tough one to swallow.”

How differently would the play have been handled next season with expanded instant replay? I posed that question on the broadcast to Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations. And Torre basically said that the sport was still trying to figure it out.

The arguments by the managers — first by Red Sox manager John Farrell, then Matheny — probably took longer than a determination by replay would have. A challenge by Farrell under the new system would have made the conference by the umpires unnecessary; they simply would have checked the replay.

Anyway, we’ll give Farrell the last word:

“I thought, from the dugout view, it was pretty clear that that ball just tipped off the fingertips of his glove,” Farrell said. “I think we're fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but my view is that it wasn't even that.

“There was really no entry into the glove with the ball. And to their credit (the umpires) did confer, and I think the one thing is we just strive to get the call correct. And I think based on their group conversation, surprisingly, to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right.”

• I walked out of Fenway Park with Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran and asked him how he was doing.

“We’ll talk tomorrow,” Beltran said politely, smiling.

X-rays on Beltran’s right ribs were negative, but his bruise was serious enough for him to leave his first World Series game. General manager John Mozeliak told reporters that the call on whether Beltran will start Game 2 might be a game-time decision.

Beltran is the second right fielder to hurt himself trying to catch a bid for a grand slam by the Red Sox’s David Ortiz in the postseason. The Detroit TigersTorii Hunter just missed grabbing Ortiz’s slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series but remained in the game. Beltran made a spectacular catch to rob Ortiz of a slam and limit him to a sacrifice fly in the second inning but was gone one inning later.

The Cardinals inserted Jon Jay in center field and moved Shane Robinson to right, and likely would use the same alignment if Beltran is unavailable Thursday night. They are not carrying any other outfielders on their Series roster; they removed Adron Chambers to clear a spot for Allen Craig, who is unable to play the outfield while recovering from his sprained left foot.

• Suddenly, the rotations for both teams for the rest of the series are in flux.

Matheny, asked if right-hander Adam Wainwright could make three starts in the Series after throwing 95 pitches in Game 1, said, “We’re not ruling anything out going forward.”

And while the Red Sox are planning on using righty Clay Buchholz in Game 4, Buchholz indicated to reporters on Wednesday night that it was not a sure thing.

“That’s our goal, for me to be out there on Sunday,” Buchholz said, according to The Boston Globe. “I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen and be well enough to go out there and give the team a chance to win. If that’s me going out there at 90 percent, I’ll go out there at 90 percent.

“But if it does come down to the wire and I’m going to run out there and not help the team win, there’s no reason for me to run out there.”

Farrell, though, said that Buchholz is “going to pitch.” And while Buchholz admitted to feeling tightness in his arm, the Red Sox’s position is that he is not injured, just less than 100 percent strong. That, perhaps, is to be expected, considering that Buchholz missed three months with a shoulder injury and did not return until Sept. 10.

The Cardinals figure to use right-handers Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly in some order in Games 3 or 4, but they could always keep one of those pitchers in reserve and go back to Wainwright in Game 4 if they trail in the series.

Tagged: Red Sox, Cardinals, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz

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