Friday, September 18, 2009
No Stupid Umpiring This Time: Angels 4, Red Sox 3
Fuentes, who slammed his glove against the ground after the second questionable call on Green, not only said that plate umpire Rick Reed had missed the call but that umpires might be too afraid to make the right call if it went against the Red Sox.It's clear from the subsequent war of words that this isn't going away any time soon.
"We're out there playing our hearts out," Fuentes said. "It's obviously emotional for both teams, and to have it taken away from you like that is discouraging.
"It's frustrating, especially here and in other places where they seem a little timid to make a call. It just seems like that's the way it is here, time and time again."
Fuentes, in his first year in the American League, said he has heard players on the Angels and other teams say that, in this oldest and coziest ballpark in the American League, the umpires too often favor the home team on a close call.
"It's either a mistake, or they're scared," he said. "It's one of the two."
Mercifully, yesterday's game had no such moments. Despite my misgivings about Wednesday's contest, David Pinto's takeaway is about right, i.e. both John Lackey, and last night's starter Ervin Santana, have enough to pitch well in the hostile confines of Fenway. The offense clicked, with Howie Kendrick ripping a solo homer in the third to give the Angels a short-lived 1-0 lead; Howie also provided the winning margin in the ninth by cashing in Terry Evans with an RBI single. In all, Howie went 3-for-4, one of his best recent performances.
But really, the most critical part of the game — and arguably one that won't show up in the Fangraphs WPA report — was the wild pitch which arguably could have been a passed ball, but bounced balls inevitably get called on the pitcher, not the catcher.
And I'd rather see Santana in the closer role in October. The other four starters are all qualified to pitch in the post-season, and Santana has the stuff that will most logically transfer to the bullpen. And I'd rather see someone with his stuff, demeanor, and experience in their over Fuentes or the rookies.
Santana as closer is an intriguing idea, but this is a guy who's pitched four whole games in his career out of the pen. I'm not sure it's a great idea from that perspective (think Washburn in the 2004 ALDS Game 3).