May 6, 2016

G29: Yankees/Kulpa 3, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 200 000 000 - 2 13  0
Yankees - 110 000 10x - 3  6  0
The official box score of this game will note that Yankees reliever Andrew Miller recorded his sixth save. The official scorer should actually have given that save to home plate umpire Ron Kulpa.

It was Kulpa's magically expanding strike zone that gave the Yankees two key outs in the eighth inning and it was Kulpa who, after getting an earful from David Ortiz on a questionable called strike 2 with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, called Big Papi out on strikes on a pitch that was nearly in the dirt. Kulpa could then be seen smirking as Papi (quite naturally) exploded - and was subsequently ejected. Hanley Ramirez struck out swinging to end the game (no help from Kulpa needed there).

[Not Kulpa, but who cares?]

The Red Sox left themselves open to such umpire shenanigans because they could not deliver a big hit in the late innings. Boston left eight men on base in the final four innings (and 12 for the game, going 3-for-12 with RATS), including the bases loaded in the ninth.

The night began on a much more pleasant note for the Red Sox. After two were outs in the first inning, Xander Bogaerts doubled to right and Ortiz cracked his seventh home run of the season. It was also Ortiz's 452nd home run in a Boston uniform, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for 2nd place on the Red Sox's all-time list. (Ted Williams is #1 with 521.)

Rick Porcello (7-6-2-3-5, 102) gave the runs back. Jacoby Ellsbury walked on four pitches, stole second and third, and scored on Brian McCann's double. Ellsbury also injured his hip and left the game after scoring New York's first run. In the second inning, Starlin Castro singled, was bunted to second, and scored on Dustin Ackley's single.

Porcello allowed a leadoff double to Brett Gardner in the third, but stranded him on third base. Porcello was at 81 pitches through four innings, but he had three quick frames, throwing seven, nine, and five pitches to make it through seven innings. Unfortunately, one of those five seventh-inning offerings was hit out of the park by Aaron Hicks. It gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

After surrendering two runs and four hits in the first inning, Michael Pineda (6-8-2-1-4, 106) settled down through the middle innings. With one out in the sixth, singles from Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Brock Holt loaded the bases. Jackie Bradley ended the rally by hitting into a double play.

Christian Vazquez doubled off Chasen Shreve to open the seventh, but the Red Sox could not move him around. Mookie Betts attempted something resembling a bunt and popped up to McCann behind the plate. Kirby Yates replaced Shreve. Dustin Pedroia lined a ball at shortstop Didi Gregorius, who played the liner off his chest. He threw low to first, but Mark Teixeira made a great scoop for the second out. Xander Bogaerts was then called out on strikes (after watching strike 2 come right down the heart of the plate).

Boston faced Dellin Betances in the eighth. Ortiz lined out to right and Ramirez was called out on a questionable low and outside pitch. Shaw singled. Miller came out of the bullpen, looking for a four-out save. Chris Young batted for Brock Holt and walked. Bradley was then the victim of Kulpa's efforts to aid the Yankees. Kulpa called strike one on an outside pitch, Bradley fouled off Miller's second offering, and then Kulpa rung him up on a pitch even further outside, ending the inning.

In the ninth, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge reached on an infield single. Miller struck Betts out swinging, putting strikes 1 and 2 on the low/inside corner. Pedroia worked the count to 3-1 and singled to left. Bogaerts then popped a ball to shallow left that Gregorius ran after with his back to the infield. The ball hit off his glove and all runners were safe. The bases were loaded with only one out. Ortiz fouled off the first pitch, then saw three balls. Miller might have hit the corner with strike 2, but Ortiz believed he had drawn a game-tying walk. He yelled, "No, no, no!" at Kulpa and manager John Farrell came out to also rant at Kulpa's one-sided calls. Kulpa got his revenge, ejecting Farrell and then calling Ortiz out on a pitch low and out of the zone. And then he ejected Papi, too. Ramirez, who had singled twice in the game, struck out.

Miller pumped his fist as Ramirez swung and missed for strike three and the third out, but he really should have been racing to the plate to pat Kulpa on the back and thank him for a job well done. Because if anyone saved the Yankees' victory tonight, it was the home plate umpire.

Rick Porcello / Michael Pineda
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Shaw, 3B
Holt, LF
Bradley, CF
Vazquez, C
The first-place Red Sox (winners of 9 of their last 11 games and 11 of 15) visit the last-place Yankees (losers of 7 of 8 and 11 of 15).
             W   L   PCT   GB
Red Sox     17  11  .607  ---
Orioles     16  11  .593  0.1
Blue Jays   15  15  .500  3.0
Rays        12  14  .462  4.0
Yankees      9  17  .346  7.0
The Yankees lost 1-0 to the Orioles in 10 innings last night, ending a 2-7 road trip. Manager Joe Girardi got upset at the umpires, hoping his anger would fire up his club. It didn't. (Because they suck.)


Benjamin said...

Manager Joe Girardi got upset at the umpires, hoping his anger would fire up his club. It didn't. (Because they suck.)

It failed to light a fire under their dumpster?

allan said...

Well, that dumpster is already burning, isn't it?

allan said...

Oops: "defensive shits".

Jere said...

He did the fark and I missed it??? As for tonight, what a goddamn joke.

allan said...

Some comments from Maxwell Horse in the game thread (I hope he doesn't mind):

Kulpa needs to be destroyed by the press after this game. INTENTIONALLY making a bad call and then smirking about it, just to 'get back' for having his authority questioned.
But the press won't say anything. Because he's an authority figure in a monkey suit.

This is where basketball would publicly admit that one of their guys messed up and affected the outcome of the game. But in baseball, they all circle the wagons and protect their corruption.

The public response will universally be, "That's why you shouldn't 'show up' the ump." Translation: It's okay if this person that's supposed to be impartial is not impartial--they are better than you mere mortals. It's the same universal worship at play when people automatically defend the police in cases of brutality.

allan said...


Look at the fucking smirk on the ump's face on the replay. Even Jim Rice is pointing out the "smirk."

Even Tom Caron, who never says anything remotely confrontational, says that "Kulpa should be the star of the game." (As opposed to the conventional choice of Pineda.)

This is the most outspoken I've ever seen Tom Caron been about anything. "It's the Ron Kulpa show tonight."

Tom Caron is really genuinely fired up about this. "That smirk he showed afterward was him saying, 'I showed you.'"

allan said...

Two Speier tweets:

Farrell said Ortiz 'would have needed a hockey stick for the 3-2 pitch'

Farrell: "Anybody who was watching this game closely understands what the story of this one was."

Maxwell Horse said...

Two important takeaways that sports radio should be making about tonight's game (but won't).

1) The problem wasn't that Kulpa got the calls wrong. It was that he got them wrong ON PURPOSE.

2) If it's criminal and corrupt for an ump to take money to intentionally screw over a team or player, then it's equally criminal for an ump to intentionally screw over a team for the gratification of personal revenge.

But the WEEIs of the world will not go down that avenue. They will blame Ortiz for being "selfish." And in as much as they'll acknowledge that the ump intentionally blew the game, they'll act like it was justified for "showing up" the ump.

allan said...


The Red Sox were handed a loss tonight. They should still be playing. Or maybe they should have won by now. ...

Then in the ninth, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa decided to hand the game to the Yankees.

Kulpa had been miserable all night. ...

Ortiz returned to the plate, Miller delivered a pitch four inches below the strike zone, and Kulpa called him out. Chances are he would've done the same on a pickoff throw to first.

It was ball four. It was a run. Red Sox 3, Yankees 3. And Kulpa took that win, took that run, and decided that no, he would be the one deciding this game.

What a complete disgrace. ...

Fix your product, Major League Baseball. We don't come to watch the men in black.


allan said...

Tom Caron: "The 45,000 people who paid to get in to Yankee Stadium to see Ron Kulpa got their money's worth."

allan said...

"According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Kulpa had 31 missed calls Friday night, tied for the seventh most in a game this season, and the called third strike on Ortiz was 5½ inches below the strike zone."