Forget the fact that the Rays went 2-12 wRISP. Forget the fact that they are now 0-9 with the bases loaded, and 0-11 extending back to 2012. Forget the fact that Tampa Bay seemed to be a half step behind the Rangers all night; this has absolutely nothing to do with that.
The scenario: Down by one in the ninth with two outs, Sean Rodriguez at first and Molina at third, a very hot hitting Ben Zobrist came to the plate with hopes of either knotting things up, or extending the inning for Evan Longoria, who was on deck. Zobrist took strike one — a pitch that was clearly a ball, well outside the zone. Nathan proceeded to throw three straight balls and a borderline strike to put Zobrist in a 3-2 count. He followed that up by throwing a pitch that was well off the plate, and in the dirt. That pitch was clearly a ball to everyone by Foster. As Zobrist took off his helmet and gloves, starting to take his rightful base, Foster called the pitch strike three to end the game.
Marty Foster’s call on the final pitch of the game was, easily, one of the most atrocious calls I’ve ever seen in my life. Hell, even Joe Nathan couldn’t believe the call, mouthing the word “Wow” after Foster called the pitch a strike. “That can’t happen in a major league game,” said Joe Maddon in his post game presser. There are not enough words.
In a pool interview following the game, home-plate umpire Marty Foster was quoted as saying,
”I saw the pitch and of course don’t have the chance to do it again, but had I had a chance to do it again, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike.”
Regardless of Foster’s admission, the Rangers’ 5-4 victory — and Joe Nathan’s 300th career save — is still on the books. Ben Zobrist summed things up well,
”Umpires make mistakes just like players do. It was a tough time to have a bad call… I hope it doesn’t ending up costing us playoffs in the end. I know it’s the first week of the season. But every win is important and we might have had a chance to win that one. Everybody makes mistakes. What are you going to do?”
Maddon took the field following the botched call — clearly perturbed — arguing well after the stands began to clear. According to Yahoo Sports, umpire crew chief Tim Welke indicated that he didn’t foresee a scenario in which Maddon would be disciplined.
Foster went on to say of Maddon,
”He was frustrated and I understand, he acted probably the best he can under that situation.”
It will be interesting to see how things pan out on the field Tuesday night, when the Rays again take on the Rangers in the second game of their 10-game road trip.