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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Footnote About Yesterday's Angels Game

David Pinto forwards a Boston Globe story that explains why no amount of bobbling by rookie outfielder Brandon Moss would have made a difference, and Jeff Mathis was safe to go when he did:
Schilling departed in the seventh trailing, 3-2, after bantamweight Maicer Izturis hit his third home run of the season to open the seventh and slumping catcher Jeff Mathis (0 for 18) doubled. A fourth run was charged to Schilling when Reggie Willits, facing reliever Julian Tavarez, bunted Mathis to third and Chone Figgins lined a ball to Moss, who juggled it a couple of times before securing it in leather.

That ignited a mini-controversy, as Mathis had left well before Moss had full control of the ball, but the argument mounted by Francona didn't last much longer than the one Francona initiated after Ramirez was ejected.

The applicable section of the rulebook was Section 2.00, in which this stipulation is added under the definition of a catch: "Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball." That would guard against outfielders deliberately breaking into a circus act, rather than the inadvertent performance by Moss.

While Julio Lugo was arguing vehemently that Mathis had left too early, Moss knew the rule. "It happened to me once in the minors," he said. "It was frustrating, because I lost that ball in the lights. If I catch it, I probably throw him out, so it cost us a run."

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