October 14, 2021

Dodgers Beat Giants 2-1, Win NLDS; Game Ends On A Blown Check Swing Call By 1B Umpire

Word of advice to Gabe Morales: Stay out of San Francisco . . . for the rest of your life.

It's not pleasant to have any game end on a check swing call by one of the base umpires. But to have the plug pulled on a 107-win season on "an inexplicable call" . . . is beyond brutal. The Giants had the potential tying run on first against Max Scherzer. Wilmer Flores was rung up for something that looked more like a slight muscle twitch than an actual did-he-or-didn't-he swing.

And so the Dodgers won NLDS Game 5 and advanced to the NLCS against Atlanta. Facing elimination following a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in Game 3, they came out on top in the final two games, 7-2 and 2-1.

Giants fans will rightly stew for the remainder of their lives. For the rest of us, after a flurry of chatter about the gross injustice of this call, we will watch the ALCS tomorrow night and the NLCS on Saturday, and life will go on.

MLB will take no action, because MLB's first (and often only) instinct is to do the absolute wrong thing. MLB operates under the premise that it's far better to allow a problem to fester and grow than draw any public attention to it by attempting to fix it. There will be no accountability for Morales. MLB refuses to exercise any quality control over its umpires, which has led to many of them being both incompetent and arrogant. They are wholly unqualified to do their job and will run you in a heartbeat if you dare to question their judgment.

Poor Charlie Brown. He's still tormented by Willie McCovey's line out to end the 1962 World Series. And now this.
Three days ago, Morales said this was not a swing. Because of course he did.
It was a hell of a game.

Mookie Betts went 4-for-4 and scored the game's first run in the sixth on Corey Seager's double (which was LA's first non-Mookie hit). Betts stole second before Seager's double and is the fourth player to have four hits and a steal in a do-or-die postseason game, joining Max Carey of the Pirates (1925 WS 7 against the Senators), Terry Puhl of the Astros (1980 NLCS 5 against the Phillies), and George Brett of the Royals (1985 WS 7 against the Cardinals).

Betts is also the third Dodger with four hits and a stolen base in a postseason game, along with Jim Gilliam (1959 WS 5 against the White Sox) and Maury Wills (1965 WS 5 against the Twins).

Instead of starting Julio Urías as planned, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted for a strategy that saw Corey Knebel pitched the first inning and Brusdar Graterol in the second. Then it was Urías, who threw four innings (4-3-1-0-5, 59). It worked, in retrospect. Knebel allowed a two-out double and Graterol wriggled out of a first-and-second-one-out jam. Six Los Angeles pitchers struck out a total of 13 Giants and walked none.

Giant starter Logan Webb was superb (7-4-1-1-7, 106). Coupled with his Game 1 start, he pitched 14.2 innings in the series, allowed only one run and struck out 17. Darren Ruf tied the game with a long solo home run to center field in the home half of the sixth.

Both teams failed to cash in on scoring chances earlier in the game. The Giants had runners at first and second against Graterol with one out in the second, but Evan Longoria fouled to first and Webb struck out. Flores stranded a teammate at third base in the fourth.

The Dodgers had Betts on second with one out in the third, but responded with two grounders back to the mound sandwiched around a walk. In the eighth, they had men at first and second with one out, but Seager fanned and Trea Turner flied to right.

In the ninth, facing San Francisco's Camilo Doval, who had retired Turner with one pitch and stranded those runners in the eighth, Will Smith grounded out to shortstop. Justin Turner was plunked by a pitch. Gavin Lux grounded a single into right and Cody Bellinger (who batted .165 this season) did the same to right-center, scoring Turner without a throw. With two outs, Bellinger stole second, but both runners were LOB'd.

Scherzer jogged in, hoping to get the final three outs and earn his first career save. Plate umpire Doug Eddings was shitty all night (it was quite a crew with Angel Hernandez at second base; only the best are rewarded with postseason assignments) and he gave Max a generous welcome-to-the-game gift on his first pitch to Brandon Crawford (outside and up), who fouled off another pitch that was out of the strike zone before flying to left.

Kris Bryant's ground ball along the third base line was botched by Justin Turner - it simply went in and out of his glove, rolling into foul territory. Lamont Wade, a pinch-hitter, got ahead 2-0 before Scherzer dropped in a curveball, and two fouls later, Wade was called out on a beautiful pitch, which dotted the far top corner of the zone. Then it was Flores. He took a strike and fouled the next pitch off.

What ended up being the final pitch of the game was low and away. Flores barely offered at it, but Morales decided the Giants' season had gone on long enough.


FenFan said...

On a completely different subject, the only person left participating in the postseason contest is Joshua H, who has the Dodgers winning it all. Everyone else picked either the Rays, Giants, or Brewers.

FenFan said...

Just a BRUTAL call. To end the game. Totally unacceptable... and you're correct. Giants get the shaft and Morales gets no action taken against him.

Paul Hickman said...

I was listening to the SF Radio broadcast via the MLB app & both of them thought he swung !!!!!

They said Beer cans were being thrown at the Umps as well