Everyone Wants to Blame the Outcome on Utley, Umps
Are we really going to call this a controversy?
Last night’s game was ugly- real ugly. The Phillies made two errors, the Reds made four. Four!
There were a number of plays, gaffs, and factors that allowed the Phillies to come back and win. But Cincinnati, the media, and the “replay now!” crowd are desperate to blame the Phils victory on a couple of questionable calls.
It all happened in the bottom of the seventh.
Utley appeared to be grazed by Aroldis Chapman. The replay shows otherwise. Utley, doing what any other Major Leaguer would have done, took first base. Then, after Chapman blew away Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth hit a ground ball to third base. Scott Rolen’s throw to Brandon Phillips appeared to beat Utley to second (it did), but Utley was called safe. Rollins came up, hit the ball into the the lights, Jay Bruce misplayed it- which allowed Utley and Werth to score- and the Phillies took a 5-4 lead. MLB Network and the TBS broadcast seemed to think that Utley, who was cool enough to roll up his sleeves on his way to third, didn’t touch said base and should have been out. Rolen actually backed up Utley, saying “”I saw him touch the bag. I take a look when someone comes around third, and he touched it, Just the corner. But that’s all you need.” The Phils tacked on another run in the seventh and one more in the eigth.
Many, including Les Carpenter of Yahoo, want to blame the game on the umps. Their argument goes like this:
-If Utley doesn’t get “hit” by the pitch, the count goes to 1-2. Based on Chapman’s success against lefties this year (batting under .200), he probably gets him out. That’s a fair assumption based on what Chapman did to Howard just seconds later.
-If Utley is out and Howard is out, there are two outs. Math, bitch.
-Werth’s grounder to Rolen becomes an easy out at first.
All of those points are valid, but what is being completely discounted is the fact that the Reds were frazzled and had given up three runs in the prior two innings and gave up another one in the eighth. And Werth never would have scored on Bruce’s error if Phillips didn’t drop the relay throw.
I know that we would be complaining if this happened to the Phillies, but the fact of the matter is they (and the fans) got to the Reds. Even though they were helped along the way, the Phillies took advantage of their opportunities. When Rollins hit the fly ball to right field, Bruce had an opportunity to reverse the blown call. He didn’t. Phillips had a chance to throw Werth out at home. He didn’t.
The Reds relievers had their chances to not hit three batters in two innings. But they did.
MLB Network, who looked at this fairly, made a pretty hilarious clip of what may have been going through Utley’s mind during the whole ordeal.
Matt Yallof narrated video after the jump.