"Jiminy Criminy"

Those were the words of Rays TV announcer Dwayne Staats as the game went away to break after a disastrous 7th inning for the Rays. James Shields started the inning by getting Carlos Quentin to pop out and then struck out Chris Getz. He then walked Gordon Beckham and Joe Maddon pulled him after that 116th pitch. Randy Choate came in to get Scott Podsednik out who hit a high chopper over the pitcher’s mound that Bartlett tried to complete but threw the ball wide (and late) putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Chad Bradford was brought on to face Alexei Ramirez but his back flared up during warmups and he was pulled without even throwing a pitch and was replaced by Dan Wheeler. This is where the fun began.

Wheeler’s first pitch to Ramirez was the red square you see called as strike one in the image at the top of this story. His second pitch was the pitch you see Ramirez chasing in the image above. After throwing two balls, Wheeler throws the pitch that I highlighted in the image above. A pitch that is the exact same height as the 1st pitch in the at bat that was called a strike and right over the heart of the plate – and it was called ball 3. Ramirez skulled Wheeler’s next pitch that B.J. Upton misplayed into a triple allowing the tying runs to score and a Jermaine Dye single to center brought in the eventual game-winning run.

This one can’t be put on the pitching, or the offense. You can put some blame on Jason Bartlett for not putting that ball in his pocket rather than throwing it or B.J. Upton for misreading a ball, but Laz Diaz needs to man up and admit he gave the White Sox offense a 4th out in this game at a critical juncture that gave the White Sox a win.

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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3 Responses to "Jiminy Criminy"

  1. Debo says:

    Amen to that! Just so sad that the up can’t get aa strike right when it was thrown right down the middle of the plate and was about 6 inches above the knee! I am so angry right now

  2. Bob R. says:

    I do not agree about blaming the umpire. It may have been an awful call, but Wheeler still has to get the out. After all, we are highlighting that call because of what happened next, but there are 100s of calls in a game. Are you sure the White Sox were not jobbed on some of them? Or is it likely that both teams were victimized here and there?

    In the end, each team has to do what is necessary to win. If the Rays had scored 6 or 7 runs off a rookie pitcher in his first major league appearance, something that is certainly within their capabilities, there would have been no problem. If Wheeler had gotten an easy grounder or Upton not misjudged the fly ball or the Rays had gotten 2 runs across against Thornton, again, no problem. Was every pitch he threw in those 2 innings called properly from a Chicago point of view? I doubt it, and certainly it would not have been had the Rays taken advantage of a close call and driven in 2 runs. Teams win and lose games, not umpires, even if they do err.

  3. Bob – I can respect that line of thought. That said, the inconsistency within the same at bat is what is most frustrating. I can see calling that pitch in the 4th but not in the 7th but missing it after calling a strike on nearly the same pitch 3 earlier is tough to swallow.

    Wheeler’s pitch or Upton’s non-error would have never come into play had Diaz been consistent. That call changed the entire frame of the game because Thornton likely does not come in down three runs.

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