Saturday, April 28, 2018

Master Mike - Boone Boots a Replay as Scioscia Plays Coy

Friday night's Yankees-Angels game produced an odd run-scoring sequence that left NY Manager Aaron Boone out of time as Halos skipper Mike Scioscia outcoached rookie Boone by strategically opting not to challenge an umpire's apparent missed call on the bases.

A close call, missed chance, and strategy win.
The Play: With one out and two on (R2, R3), Yankees batter Neil Walker hit a fly ball deep to right field, resulting in a leaping catch at the wall by Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun, who threw to shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who in turn stepped on second base to appeal that Yankees baserunner R2 Giancarlo Stanton left the base too early as baserunner R3 Didi Gregorious crossed home plate.

The Call: 2B Umpire Angel Hernandez ruled R2 Stanton out for failing to timely tag up and HP Umpire Alan Porter ruled that R3 Gregorious' run should count because Gregorious scored prior to the third out of the inning.

Replays and Aftermath: Because replays suggest that R2 Stanton did timely tag up and that R3 Gregorious touched home plate after F6 Simmons tagged second base, both managers potentially had reason to consider challenging the play... and because one apparent missed call went against New York while the other went against Anaheim Los Angeles, the skippers had additional reason to pause.

Scioscia immediately exited his dugout to inform the umpires he was considering a challenge. After some thought, he opted not to challenge the call, likely knowing that although Gregorious did not touch home plate until after Simmons' tag at second, the Replay Official would have also reviewed when Simmons left second base relative to Calhoun's first touch, and would have likely reversed U2 Hernandez's out call, thus rendering UIC Porter's time play a moot call, awarding the Yankees not only Gregorious' run, but Stanton's placement at third base with just two out.

As for Boone...well...he Boone'd it. Replays indicate Boone loitered in the dugout after getting word from his video room that Calhoun had, indeed, caught the ball...only thinking to review the tag-up play at second base after more than 30 seconds had passed, which means his time was up and New York was no longer eligible to challenge the call(s).

What Should Have Happened: Batter out on the sac fly, R3 scoring and R2 to third base. Two out.
What Happened Instead: Batter out on the sac fly, R3 scoring. R2 out at second. Three out.

A snapshot at the moment Calhoun catches.
Umpire Responsibilities: In general, with runners at second and third and the infield in, the first base umpire has responsibility for boundary calls involving the right fielder who moves to his left, while the second base umpire has fly ball responsibility for plays that take the right fielder to his right (same coverage as with the bases empty).

Because F9 Calhoun turned and ran to his left, 1B Umpire Bill Miller properly went out into right field and observed Calhoun's catch.

The 2B Umpire's responsibility in this situation is to drift into the infield between first and second and take the tag-up at second base as well as the batter-runner once the batter-runner achieves first base. In addition to the tag-up at second base, the 2B Umpire is to quickly glance toward first to make sure the batter-runner touches first base as he runs by. Replays indicate 2B Umpire Angel Hernandez followed this instruction, though may have turned to see BR's touch at a crucial moment when R2 tagged up. Which base touch is more important here, anyway?

The 3B Umpire lines up the tag-up at third base, and takes the runner from second into third. Replays indicate 3B Umpire Todd Tichenor did this.

The HP Umpire stays home and has all runners at home including the batter-runner as well as R3. HP Umpire Alan Porter stayed home and was in good position to rule on the time play at second base.

Scioscisa strategically chose not to challenge.
What Went Wrong: Prior to ruling on the appeal play at second base, 2B Umpire Hernandez looked toward first, presumably for U1 Miller, possibly because, had Calhoun gone to his right, the first base umpire would have had the tag-up at second; perhaps Hernandez wanted to ensure no conflicting call would be made. However, if this alternate mechanic were in use, Hernandez would have gone out, not Miller. Regardless, this wasn't "wrong" in and of itself; watching BR at the crucial moment was what went wrong for the umpires. Whether right or not, Boone's failure to timely challenge the play was what went wrong for New York: the Yankees failed to control a controlable.

As for Porter, he had to rule whether Gregorious' touch of home plate preceded Simmons' tag of second base—a tall order from over 128 feet away, especially given Simmons' minor stumble at second base. In all, this makes for a very difficult time play; without satisfactory evidence to suggest that the run scored after the third out was made, Porter's call was to score the run. Scioscia could have challenged it, but it turned out to be far more strategic for him not to challenge the play, so, he didn't and in doing so, outcoached Aaron Boone.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: A great catch turns into a confusing pair of mistakes that don't go to review (UEFL)


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