I know this post has nothing to do with the New York Yankees but last night’s ending to the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox World Series Game 3 was so odd and so mind boggling that it deserves to be looked at one more time. Also there was a lot of debate last night as to what went into the decision of calling the play at third base an obstruction, allowing the Cardinals to walk-off. Here’s my take on it.
You had the feeling last night’s game was going to be a see-saw battle, especially with Red Sox starter Jake Peavy not making it to the fifth inning and Joe Kelley losing his effectiveness as the game went along, leaving it to be the battle of the bullpens. The Red Sox bullpen hasn’t been as effective during the postseason as it had been during the regular season. The Cardinals could say the same during this series. But the bullpen battle eventually ended with Koji Uehara and a Red Sox loss, a loss that wasn’t entirely Uehara’s fault. Below is video from the final play of the game, ending with a Cardinals 5-4 walk-off victory.
Dustin Pedroia couldn’t believe the call. John Farrell wanted an explanation on a night that was full of questionable managerial choices. The Red Sox didn’t believe the call was correct, especially Will Middlebrooks, the person that inadvertently ended the game after tripping Allen Craig while attempting to get up from the ground.
“I had to dive for that ball,” Middlebrooks told MLB.com. “I was pretty inside the baseline, as we could all see. I dive for the ball there. There’s really nowhere for me to go. I got to get up. He’s on top of me. There’s really nowhere for me to go there. That’s a tough one. I was going to push myself up. They said it doesn’t matter. He ran into me. I still haven’t processed it all. I don’t know. I don’t agree with it.”
Here’s the reason why it was called an obstruction on Will Middlebrooks from the rule-book:
“If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball, he may be considered ‘in the act of fielding the ball’. It is entirely up to the judgement of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field the ball and missed, he can no longer be in the ‘act of fielding’ the ball. For example: An infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.”
In the end, the Cardinals benefited from the umpires ruling. The Red Sox will now have to play catch-up in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series tonight. But because of the play from last night, the Cardinals are now in the drivers seat, putting pressure on the Red Sox, their rotation and their bullpen.