Monday, August 30, 2021

Kulpa-Lentz's Obstruction Shades of Joyce-DeMuth

Sunday's Red Sox-Indians game featured an 8th-inning obstruction call as HP Umpire Nic Lentz awarded Cleveland baserunner Oscar Mercado home plate after 3B Umpire Ron Kulpa's obstruction call moments earlier, harkening back to the 2013 World Series when Jim Joyce and Dana DeMuth combined to make a similar call to end Game 3 on a walk-off obstruction error.

Play & Call: In Cleveland, with two out and one on (R1), Indians batter Yu Chang hit a 1-0 fastball from Red Sox pitcher Austin Davis on the ground to left fielder Kyle Schwarber. As R1 Mercado rounded second base, he collided with Boston second baseman Yairo Muñoz, drawing an obstruction call from 3B Umpire Kulpa, signaled by pointing at the infraction and keeping play alive, since the obstruction occurred on a runner whom a play was not being made at the moment of obstruction.

Play Call Part 2
:When Mercado arrived at home plate and it looked as if Boston catcher Kevin Plawecki would easily tag him out, HP Umpire Lentz called "Time" and acknowledged the obstruction, awarding Mercado home plate to nullify the act, having ruled that absent obstruction, Mercado would have scored.

Official Baseball Rule 6.02(h)(2) aka Obstruction B or Type 2 states that, "If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in their judgment will nullify the act of obstruction."

In turn, the umpires properly officiated this obstruction sequence—a true World Series call.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Kulpa/Lentz echo Joyce/DeMuth during another Boston obstruction call (BOS/CCS)


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